Page 1

Issue 53, January/February 2013 £2.95



Top Dollar Pawn

Gerald Poutney on the UK’s booming pawn industry

Fifty Shades of Meaning Clearing the grey from people management

Sick Leave. The Hidden Costs

How to ensure you do everything by the book

Roll Out The Red Carpet Stoke-on-Trent seeks investors for long-term city success


Regenerate The Midlands


and in association with

Eric Le Corre Torques Michelin

The Michelin UK MD chats about his path to the top of the UK’s leading tyre manufacturer

Page 36_Layout 1 10/1/12 9:48 AM Page 1

Issue 53, January/February 2013 £2.95



Top Dollar Pawn

Gerald Poutney on the UK’s booming pawn industry

Fifty Shades of Meaning


Eric Le Corre Torques Michelin

The Michelin UK MD chats about his path to the top of the UK’s leading tyre manufacturer

and in association with

As we approach a new financial year money matters more than ever, so we have advice on how to find a venue, for a meeting or conference, on a budget. We have also sought advice for creditors from the Insolvency Service and the West Midlands’ UK Trade and Investment offer their guidance on international trading. Keep up to date with all the latest news and events by heading over to our brand new website or discover our twitter page to read up and have your say @midsbusiness. Acknowledgements: Sustainability West Midlands, the Insolvency Service, Julie Cooper, Health and Safety Executive, St John Ambulance, The West Midlands’ UK Trade and Investment , Marketing Manchester and Madeleine Thomson at Hamlins LLP.



16 STOKE-ON-TRENT ROLLS OUT RED CARPET mission to create 50,000 jobs and increase the size of the local economy

Warwickshire County Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council, working together

BUSINESS ON A BUDGET How it is possible to find the perfect venue on a budget


Kevin Angel Justine Clegg

FEATURES DESIGN Ben Stanley, Martin Beech, Jemma McNicholas


ARTWORK Tracy Harrison


For any enquiries regarding editorial contributions please contact us on 01782 644456 or email

Amy Clarke



20 24/28 HEALTH AND SAFETY Understanding the legal requirements and knowledge of Health and Safety in the workplace


MANCHESTER: THE HOME OF GREAT CONFERENCES Manchester is the ideal place for your conference, meeting or event.


Danielle Bourne

SICK LEAVE The hidden cost to companies of members of staff on long term sick leave


32/33 36/40

FIFTY SHADES OF MEANING Clearing the grey from people management by Julie Cooper

As always, a big thank you to everyone involved in making this issue happen.


Eric Le Corre, MD of Michelin UK talks to Midlands in Business


In this edition we have an interview with Eric Le Corre, MD of Michelin UK, on the new vision for the company and the governments support. And we also have an interview with Gerald Poutney, owner of Uncles Money, on how pawn broking has developed as a recession proof business. But don’t worry we have also kept all of your favourite sections, including Conferencing & Events, Finance, Legal, Communications and Environmental.


The start of the New Year brings with it a new direction for The Midlands in Business. Readers will notice that the design of the magazine has undergone a revamp, but we also have a fresh new approach to our editorial, with even more Midlandsbased interviews and success stories, with SMEs throughout the region.




00.01.1/01 02940908


Hrrtd 42-hmcc 0


Stoke-on-Trent seeks investors for long-term city success


Roll Out The Red Carpet


How to ensure you do everything by the book

The Midlands



Sick Leave. The Hidden Costs


--- January/February 2013

Clearing the grey from people management



45/46 GREEN FOR GROWTH Sustainability West Midlands discuss what sustainability means for your organisation and the benefits of going green.

SALES MANAGER David Mellenchip

SALES EXECUTIVES Sarah Evison, Julie Watson, Amanda Peach, Natalie Peach


PUBLISHER Craig Rushton

While every care has been taken during the preparation of this magazine, Staffordshire Media cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein or any consequences arising from it. The contents of this magazine may not be reprinted or reproduced without prior written permission. All rights reserved.



B1 Trentham Business Quarter, Bellringer Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. ST4 8GB.

Tel: 01782 644456 Fax: 01782 657411 Staffordshire Media supports


The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice Trust For Staffordshire and South Cheshire Reg Charity No. 1075597 ‘ Where every moment counts’


NEWS M&S Distribution Centre in Castle Donnington

M&S CREATES 1000 NEW ROLES FOR THE EAST MIDLANDS Marks & Spencer has announced 1,000 new roles at its new distribution centre in Castle Donington, due to open in early 2013. Set to be the UK’s largest dedicated e-commerce warehouse, it will distribute two million clothing and home products a week direct to customer homes and M&S stores across the country. A new ‘Plan A’ employability scheme for people with disabilities and health conditions, Marks & Start Logistics, will be one of the recruitment channels used to recruit for these new roles – which include warehouse operatives, engineers, mechanics administrative staff, transport controllers and management.

Marks & Start Logistics will help recruit, train and employ people with disabilities and health conditions to work at Castle Donington. It will be run in partnership with Remploy Employment Service, which specialises in giving disabled people the support they need to overcome barriers to work. Darrell Stein, Director of IT and Logistics at Marks & Spencer, said: “Castle Donington is a key part of M&S’ strategy for the future. This new distribution centre will help us deliver our goal of being a leading multichannel retailer by 2015. “It will also allow us to better serve our customers with improved product availability and extended delivery options. We’re delighted to be creating 1000 new roles as part of this plan and we hope it will provide an economic boost for the East Midlands.” Esther McVey, Minister for the Disabled, said: “Although the employment rate of disabled people has improved over the past few years, around half of all disabled people are still not in work and those that are often work far below their potential.

RECOVERY FOR MIDLANDS’ ECONOMY 74% of accountants in the Midlands are confident that the economy will start to recover during 2013, according to a recent survey conducted by leading insolvency experts, Cranfield Business Recovery. Following continuous speculation about the state of the UK economy throughout the media, Cranfield decided to question professionals, within the business community, first-hand. The company conducted a survey across a broad section of leading accountants throughout the region to garner their comments and opinions on the Midlands economy. Tony Mitchell, managing director of Cranfield, said: “We are forever reading exhausting reports that contradict one another, predominantly based on information sourced from positions of power and wealth painting an unrealistic picture of what is really


--- ISSUE 53

“That is why I’d urge other employers to follow the example of M&S and look hard at their recruitment and work practices to make sure they don’t miss out on the extensive talents of disabled people.” Remploy Employment Services will work with local referral partners and provide employability skills training for participants. Those participants who successfully complete this part of the programme will then take part in on-site M&S technical and skills based training using simulated equipment. Over the next 12 months, Marks & Start Logistics will be just one of the channels used to recruit for these roles. Anyone interested in opportunities at the new Castle Donington distribution centre should visit w w mscareers for more information about vacancies and for specific information about the Marks & Start Logistics programme.

happening out there. This is why we thought we would try and get a better understanding of how businesses are really coping.” Findings from the survey highlight optimism around the Midlands economy, with 60% of respondents positive that the economy of the Midlands is doing better than the rest of the UK. The positivity continued as more than half of respondents believe that the number of unemployed will decrease during 2013. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has been advocating confidence as the key to regional growth for a long time. The survey confirmed this, as 68.4% cited it as the biggest barrier to growth in the current situation. Angela Tellyn, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Confidence is crucial and there have been more positive figures recently when it comes to jobs and growth. Of course, we do hear from members who are still finding conditions tough but the more confident businesses become, the more they are likely to invest and grow. That, in turn, has a positive effect on the rest of the economy.” For further information, call Cranfield Business Recovery on 024 7655 3700.


£100,000 PROJECT TO INCREASE EMPLOYABILITY A new scheme from Manchester Metropolitan University will give small and medium sized businesses the opportunity to take on interns at a fraction of the usual cost. The £100,000 GradMatchMMU project will create 100 internships for students who graduated in 2012, but have been unable to find work. They will be placed within SMEs in the North West for a minimum of eight weeks. GradMatchMMU will award businesses £1,000 towards the cost of employing a graduate intern, who will earn a minimum of £250 per week for full-time employees or pro-rata for part-time employees. Graduates who are no longer studying but have managed to find part time work will also be eligible for the scheme, as will EU, International and MA graduates. It is hoped that the project will lead to longer-term or permanent employment for the participating graduates.

TRADE MINISTER VISITS STOKE Business leaders in Stoke-on-Trent gathered to discuss ways to capitalise on overseas trade with Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment. The roundtable event brought together more than 180 guests at the King’s Hall in Stoke, on October 3rd 2012. It was hosted by Stoke-on-Trent City Council with North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

to that average it would make a huge difference. “That isn’t going to happen without us doing something differently. Export can be a daunting prospect but it is the job of government, UKTI, local business support organisations like the chambers, LEPs and banks to support companies to move into the export market.” Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Councillor Mohammed Pervez said: “This event was about developing existing businesses to help them grow and create even more employment. “I’m delighted Lord Green visited Stoke-on-Trent and recognised the significance of our Mandate for Change which is part of our one-city approach. We are letting the world know we are open for business.”

He said: “It is a great pleasure to be in Stoke-on-Trent, this is a city which is reinventing itself.

Local businessman, James Roberts from ExtraMile Communication Ltd in Eccleshall, said: “We have experience of the overseas market and we are looking to help others expand there by offering them with multi-lingual marketing.

Employers, who must be registered with Companies House, may offer more than one internship place, so long as they are for separate roles.

“British businesses are going to China, India, Brazil, Asia and the Middle East looking for new markets. We know the old model no longer works and in the current climate export trade and investment are going to have to play a key role.

“We translate to 26 different languages and in the process of assisting others to expand their business, our company grows as well. We are currently looking to move to new premises because our company is growing so rapidly.”

Any businesses interested in taking part should contact Freya Marshall, on 0161 247 6512, or email her on

“In this country we are behind the European average of business going to export markets. If we could get up

Rita Lewin, Head of Student Employability and Success and Deputy Director of Student Services, said: “We are really excited about our new project and the positive impact it will have on supporting our recent graduates and businesses within the North West. “MMU takes the employability of our graduates very seriously and giving them support in getting high quality experience of the graduate labour market via a paid internship is one way of doing this.”

STAFFORDHIRE WOMAN TOPS AMAZON BESTSELLER CHARTS An accredited NLP practitioner and experienced business coach from Staffordshire has topped the business bestseller charts with the release of her first book, 21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks Up Your Time. Grace Marshall, a mother of two from Stafford, is celebrating after the book reached number 1 in the ‘Time Management’, ‘Business Management’ and ‘Small Business and Entrepreneurship’ categories on the renowned retailer’s website, on its first day of release. Grace, who works with business owners to help them achieve their business and personal goals, is the first UK author to gain a publishing agreement from the US publishers of the ‘21 Ways’ book series. Aimed at busy people who don’t have time to study time management the short and easy-

Keynote speaker trade minister Stephen Green said businesses must look further afield in the future.

to-read book provides hints and tips to help readers take control of their ‘busyness’ and achieve their personal and business goals with more focus, enjoyment and less stress.

Grace Marshall

Grace commented: “We all have plenty to do and limited time in which to do it, so I wanted to write a book that is full of practical, punchy tips that anyone can pick up and put to use straight away. Rather than letting the little jobs, distractions, procrastination and worry suck up our time, this is a book about how to manage those things, so that you can focus on what’s really important and do life and business on purpose rather than by reaction.” Grace specialises in helping business owners to make the most of their time through a combination of face-to-face, online and audio coaching. She also runs a Busy Mums Networking group in Stafford which supports mothers who run their own businesses, and shares her tips regularly with 3,200 twitter followers worldwide. 21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks Up Your Time is available to buy online for £3.97 from Amazon, WH Smiths, Waterstones and all good online book shops.

ISSUE 53 --- 5

New crowd-funding for technology companies

The principle of crowd-funding is that instead of arranging a loan or equity investment from just one or two major sources, funding is made up of a lot of smaller investments from people who want to diversify their portfolio and not make just one or two large investments. This is the new “peerto-peer” model for lending and investment. The investors are coordinated by websites that perform initial credit checking and vetting of the investment or loan proposals before allowing them to be pitched to their registered investors.

taking companies through venture capital funding, high growth and successful trade sale and stock exchange listing exits, Tech Finance can advise on and help deliver the strategy that will add massive value to your business. This means getting the combination of strategy, finance and people that will optimise the company’s growth to meet its market opportunities.

Crowd-funding can now be used as an additional equity (share) funding source by technology companies such as Bright Ideas Global (see case study below), for their product development, marketing, working capital or asset purchases.

Technology companies now have an alternative way of raising finance for growth and development. The crowd-funding techniques that have been successful in raising money for all sorts of arts and media projects on websites such as Kickstarter ( are now being applied to business product development and growth funding. Both loan and share capital funding is available for the right projects from individuals who consider themselves to be sophisticated and experienced investors, including those who might otherwise have made angel investments.

Crowdfunding for ecobuttonTM from Bright Ideas Global Jeff Gunn, CEO, Bright Ideas Global (Photo: Rankin)

For companies that already have a reasonable asset base and can show a track record of net cash flow, the Thin Cats ( and Funding Circle ( loan finance may be available – but they take security much like a bank, though are very much faster at their decisions. This is a “win-win” for investors and companies – the investors get a better interest rate than they would from a bank – the borrowing company gets the lowest interest rate that is bid for their loan. So far default rates on these loan websites have been negligible and up to £50million has been lent to companies. Tech Finance is a specialist corporate and financial strategy service founded by Robert Ashby, who has thirty years’ experience as a director of fast growth technology businesses. Tech Finance advises companies with £1m-20m of sales and significant growth opportunities, as well as selected start-up & early stage businesses. With 30 years’ experience of

Robert Ashby, Bright Ideas Youtube video for Crowdcube. For companies that need £100,000 to £1million of funding to develop a technology market opportunity and think that crowd-funding may be the route forward, Tech Finance can advise on the best way to get funding. As Robert Ashby says “I coach entrepreneurs to slay dragons – by making their businesses a magnet for money”. Further information on crowd-funding opportunities, please contact Tech Finance at Phone 07529 557306.

Having sold 500,000 units already, mainly through promotional business gift channels, the product has been completely redeveloped based on feedback from users, particularly corporates and other large organisations, by including cloud based records and analysis of energy savings, displayed through the new haloTM on-screen platform. The haloTM on-screen interface is intended to build trust with users by only displaying content that is relevant and trusted. The Windows operating system provides many power management options that are poorly understood, little used and give no feedback on actual energy savings. With patent and trademark protection, the ecobuttonTM and haloTM is a unique solution to cutting computer energy costs, with the ability to reinforce and encourage energy saving behaviour change. Tech Finance has been working with Bright Ideas for the past six months to construct a financial strategy that will optimise the very large growth opportunity that the company has at the moment. Over this time a business plan was devised that included a three stage funding strategy, with an initial seed round, followed by an angel/crowd-funding round and in due course a major venture capital round.

Loughborough based Bright Ideas Global Ltd markets LED light products, the most successful of which is the energy saving ecobuttonTM for pcs. ecobuttonTM is a multiple award-winning product that makes life easier for every personal computer and laptop user, meets corporate agendas for energy savings and sustainability, and enables Bright Ideas Global to make substantial profits for investors.

The seed capital round was successfully completed in August and September this year, and at the same time an employee share option scheme was put in place for existing and future key employees. The company has now had its plans and projections successfully approved by Crowdcube for a pitch on its equity crowd-funding website, which went live on 16th November. This will be open to investors for 60 days

For further details of ecobutton see: Contact Bright Ideas Global on 01509 274958 For the Crowdcube investment opportunity see (Important Note: Potential investors should be aware of the risks associated with an investment in the Company, and should ensure that they have read and understood the Risk Warning on the Crowdcube website before continuing).

NEWS David Mills at the JCB Academy

SUPPORT FOR UNIVERSITY TECHNICAL COLLEGES With the number of ‘University Technical Colleges’ growing it creates new opportunities for 14-to 19-yearolds to take full-time, technicallyoriented courses. Haughton Design has continued to show their support to new academies reprising their role as Business Challenge Partner to The JCB Academy and the Black Country UTC in Walsall. Supporting both business and engineering modules to students, Haughton Design’s Managing Director David Mills - provides real world examples and sets challenges for students who prefer hands-on practical learning.

HUNDREDS TURN OUT FOR BUSINESS FAIR Deals were done, new contacts made, relationships revived and new products showcased when more than 600 of the region’s business people gathered at Let’s Do Business 2012. The county’s biggest inter-trading fair proved a rewarding day for the crowds at Britannia Stadium’s Tony Waddington Suite and Stanley Matthews Lounge on November 8. With 95 exhibition stands covering a complete spectrum of the local business world – from professional services to specialist products, support agencies to corporate venues – it was a prime opportunity to network and meet potential customers and suppliers. “Each year we try to improve our offer for both exhibitors and visitors and this year’s fair proved more successful than ever,” commented Marina Hilton, Project Events Co-ordinator at North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, organisers of the day-long event.

“We have received some really positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors – everyone gained valuable new contacts and renewed existing ones.” For the second year running Keele University were a main sponsor of the event, taking an opportunity to promote closer links between local businesses and the academic world. Marcus Wilson, Head of Commercial Marketing at Keele University, said: “Once again, we were really pleased with the event, with lots of visitors, lots of new businesses exhibiting and the increased space for exhibitors was a real bonus. “We spoke to numerous organisations interested in events at Keele Hall, business accommodation at the Science and Business Park, graduate placements and internships.” The Douglas Macmillan Hospice was the local charity chosen to benefit from the day and gained valuable exposure for its campaign to build links with the local business community. Firms are being asked to donate excess stock for sale in the charity’s chain of shops and to collate employees’ donations of unwanted items. For more information, contact Marina Hilton, Project Events Co-ordinator, North Staffordshire Chamber, on 01782 213929.

Haughton Design’s unique blend of product design and mechanical engineering has supported the Black Country UTC’s ‘Engineering Design’ module allowing students to understand the importance of engineering design through the study of engineering products and components. As the UK currently faces a future shortage of home-grown engineers, the UTC addresses this problem and focuses on turning out highly skilled job-ready young people needed by local employers. The JCB Academy students studying ‘Starting a Small Business’ benefit from David Mills’ insight as he founded Haughton Design in 1995. David said: “It is fantastic to return to The JCB Academy after the success of last year. “I have found The JCB Academy incredibly refreshing; they welcome a range of business partners including smaller companies such as Haughton Design. As a business challenge partner I have been able to regularly visit the academy, providing students with a real insight into what running a business is like.”

This year’s Let’s Do Business

ISSUE 53 --- 7


WEST MIDLANDS-BASED COMPANY TO INCREASE ITS SUPPORT TO LOCAL CHARITIES National Grid, which has bases in Birmingham, Warwick and Wolverhampton, is to significantly increase its volunteering efforts across the country, including the West Midlands region, as part of a drive to provide much needed professional skills to charitable organisations. It forms part of the company’s new national community investment programme, Bringing Energy to Life, which aims to deliver positive impacts in communities where it operates and is building new infrastructure to deliver the energy needs of homes and businesses across the country. As part of the volunteering drive, National Grid has teamed up with national charity CSV to help identify charitable projects that its employees can get involved in across the region. It aims to have one in five employees in its Birmingham, Warwick and Wolverhampton operations participating in voluntary activities within the next 12 months. To support its volunteering target for the next 12 months, National Grid has contracted Jennie Pearson, a Project Manager at CSV to

implement a number of community action days across the region, which will direct the company’s voluntary efforts at projects which require much needed support. Jennie Pearson at CSV said: “Research revealed that nearly half of charities have a need for skilled volunteers. CSV is delighted to be playing a key role in helping National Grid support invaluable community projects through providing access to the diverse skills base of their employees.” Kate Van der Plank, Head of UK Community Investment at National Grid, added: “As an employer we really value the skills our employees can build and develop through volunteering. Such experiences are second to none and leading a Community Action Day, project managing an employability workshop or mentoring a school pupil, are not only fantastic learning opportunities but they are also highly rewarding for our staff. “Our experience is that volunteering is an all-win community investment. Staff broaden their skills in areas such as leadership and communications and feel more connected to the local community and their colleagues, who are fellow volunteers. As an employer we benefit from their career development as a result of their newly acquired skills, increased confidence levels and heightened selfesteem; whilst charities gain from the diverse skills base of our employees.”

MILLION POUND BOOST FOR STAFFORDSHIRE Destination Staffordshire has announced that it has received over £500,000 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund, to boost Staffordshire as a leading short break destination. The funding will be used to accelerate growth and employment across Staffordshire’s leisure and business tourism sector. Mark Kerrigan, Chair of Destination Staffordshire said: “This is tremendous news for the prosperity of our county, helping us to sustain and grow Staffordshire’s tourism economy. “The funds will ensure we can up-skill the people employed in the industry to improve quality of service; drive profile for Staffordshire’s food and drink sector, support the many small businesses which comprise the bulk of the industry, as well as raise the awareness of the county as an excellent destination for business tourism.” The funding will be spread across three years and will be matched by Destination Staffordshire, a partnership involving approximately 400 members across the sector, and will total over £1m of investment for the County. Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee said: “The development of the visitor and business tourism sector of Staffordshire offers a real opportunity to improve the economy, support local businesses, and attract new ones leading to extra jobs. “From running tourism campaigns featuring local businesses to mentoring the front line sales teams equipping them with improved knowledge of what there is to offer, this ERDF supported project is designed to help promote, raise awareness, improve perceptions and ultimately the performance of the area. You won’t visit what you don’t know about.” Staffordshire currently attracts 21 million visitor trips every year and employs, directly and indirectly, over 46,000 people. The funding is projected to increase the visitor economy to over £1.9 billion by 2015, an increase of 20% over 2011. It is predicted to increase the volume of day visitors to 20.3 million with saying visitor trips of more than 1.4 million by 2015.

ISSUE 53 --- 9

The Loughborough MBA

Tomorrow’s Way of Doing Business Flexible, Part-Time MBA format perfect for working professionals Scholarships worth up to £3000 n Group Discounts available n

The rapidly changing business world needs dynamic, creative decision makers who understand how to get the most out of scarce resources, adapt to global challenges and implement innovation.

FeBruAry 2013 INTAKe OPeN eVeNTS Tuesday, 8th Jan 2013 - 6.30pm Saturday, 12th Jan 2013 - 10.30am BOOK yOur PLACe NOW!

Are your managers ready for the future?

Full-Time MBA and International Sports Management MBA options also available. Contact the MBA Team for details. T. 01509 223398 E.



Do you need project management training? At Newcastle-under-Lyme College we offer a range of project management courses including: - PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner Qualifications - Association of Project Management (APM) Introductory Certificate - Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management All of our qualifications are widely used in the private sector and are a great asset to your CV! PRINCE2® is a registered trademark of the Cabinet Office.

For further information contact the College Information Centre on 01782 254254 or contact the course leader on 07990 782839 or email


COMMUNICATIONS “Is my manager doing this course?” is a question I am asked perhaps more than any other. As a trainer, I hear a lot about ‘The Boss’ everyone seems to think that their employer needs to develop people skills far more than they do. Listening to these comments gives us a fair idea of the usual irritations and complaints about being managed, and we begin to see how meaning becomes unclear, and misinterpretation occurs. Looking at the comments can help us identify some of the key areas that you should consider, to improve your relationships with your staff.

What is it I’m hearing? “My boss never listens to me...hasn’t a clue what I actually do...doesn’t understand what it’s like...makes rubbish decisions...only speaks to me when I’ve done something never in the building...lives with his head in the cloud...hasn’t got time for me...never explains properly...always postpones meetings...”

FIFTY SHADES of meaning Clearing the grey from people management WRITER Julie Cooper, author of Face to Face in the Workplace.

For the record, my response to whinges like these is to encourage the individual to take responsibility for putting things right. Now, I am sure you think you are not guilty of all –or any of the above, but try to understand the perception that many employees have of their boss. It seems to me, regardless of whether people like and respect their line manager, there is often an element of feeling they are being kept in the dark and that they do not really understand what it is that the employer wants from them. So there is a rather ethereal fog where there should be rock solid clarity. When you are in the fog, you think you know where you are, but there is that uncertainty and caution that comes from, well, not being entirely sure and it is not a comfortable place to be. Few bosses intend to send out messages that leave their staff floundering, or grasping the wrong end of the proverbial stick. Most employers believe they communicate clearly and sufficiently, convey the company goals in a way that no one could misconstrue, and work hard to deliver a good experience for their employees – and much of the time, they do. What goes awry the rest of the time? Often your motives, values or reasons are misunderstood. Making your intent known is the foundation of effective working relationships, which in turn results in engaged motivated staff.

How to communicate… Intent is misinterpreted, instructions are misunderstood, and clarity is hidden behind the clouds. Assumption is rife; you think you’ve explained, you are understood and that all is well. You think?

12 --- ISSUE 53

By now, you will have worked out that we need to find ways of eliminating the haze so that your communication is crystal clear. You will probably also be wondering what on earth you can do to have an impact on what goes on in the other person’s head. Good question. Here are some pointers: First of all, be aware of your own style and the impact it has on others. Know how you like to communicate, what your values are and be able to describe your personality. If you begin to understand how ‘you being you’ comes over to others, you can start to consider where it is helping or hindering your people management skills. Self-awareness is critical to successful dialogue. The biggest mistake that employers make is assuming that their staff communicate like them; that they will absorb information in the same way, interpret language the same way, and share the same motives. We know what works for us; so when we have a problem getting our point over, we tend to use more and more of the same style instead of adapting our approach to make it easier for the other person to understand. The art of good communication lies in being able to adapt your approach to use the style or method that is most easily understood by the other person. By finding out what works best for them you will maximise the chances of having your message heard and understood. A basic understanding of learning styles and personality will help you work out how others are different from you, and what other options you have besides your own preferred way. You have probably heard of Honey and Mumford’s learning styles, Myers Briggs or The Big Five personality factors. Spending a bit of time looking at frameworks like these, working out how you operate, and how others you need to deal with do, will give you vital clues on the approach you need to take. In summary: • • • •

Make your intent clear Have basic understanding of how different types of people tick Adapt to the other person’s style Check that they have completely understood you. (Getting a ‘yes’ reply to ‘Do you understand?’ doesn’t cut it!)

COMMUNICATIONS How to put things right

Bring clarity

Communication will take us a long way, but if we are managing staff we also need to get them to perform in the way that we want. This is a huge topic, but we can take a quick look at some interventions that will stand you in good stead.

How does the other person know what you want? Quite often, several of the issues outlined above are caused by employees having unrealistic expectations of the support you can offer, or insufficient understanding of their role or what is really going on in the business. Assume nothing – make sure your people are crystal clear on job roles, acceptable behaviour and productivity required.

Nip it in the bud Often it is our natural inclination to wait and see what transpires when we spot an issue after all, sometimes problems do evaporate. On the other hand, if we let it ride when a person acts in a way that we don’t like, we are actually condoning their behaviour. How on earth are they to know otherwise? Another issue is that it can be hard to put it into words. This short and snappy three stage technique is remarkably effective: 1. Identify the behaviour 2. Say what it means to you 3. Ask for confirmation For example, you might say: “(1) Emma, every time I mention the project deadline, you sigh and roll your eyes. (2) I take it this means you have a problem with the dates. (3) Am I right?” Or “(1) John, I’ve noticed that whenever we discuss the new product launch, you shake your head and look at your feet. (2) To me, it looks like you disapprove of something. (3) Am I correct? Can we talk about this?” Think how these conversations might progress. Emma and John either have to agree with you, or deny that their actions have been interpreted accurately – in which case you can have a conversation about their true feelings and why they are using behaviour that contradicts what they are telling you. In reality, what usually happens is that the person is surprised to be approached, sometimes denies the interpretation – and is then often quick to stop the behaviour.

Explore the issues Never be afraid to try to get to the bottom of poor behaviour or performance. It does not have to be confrontational. A professional, friendly tone combined with effective questioning to identify the underlying reasons is a pragmatic way forward, so that you can act from an informed viewpoint, taking all factors into account. Effective questioning skills don’t come naturally, but they can be developed. How are yours? Do you ever make decisions before you have all the facts?

Change the Triggers Sometimes, if we don’t get round to nipping an irritation in the bud, it goes on for so long that it becomes a habit – where we play the scene in the same way every time it arises. It is usually those situations that are not major concerns, but over time our tolerance decreases and we want change. It is hard, however, because the other person is also used to dancing to the same tune time after time. Does this ring a bell with any of your people management issues? If so, let’s assume you have thought about the change you want, and how you want the relationship to be in the future. Now look for the triggers that lead to the current behaviour. What variables are there? What can you change? It is much easier to introduce behavioural change once you have escaped from the rut. Lastly...acknowledge concerns and recognise contribution. Actually, what I should say is let your people know that you acknowledge their concerns, as being heard is important. Often folk will understand that you don’t have answers right now, or have a different agenda , but they will be disgruntled if they think you don’t take onboard what they say. Let your people know that you recognise their contribution. When we know we’re appreciated, we are much more likely to be motivated – and that means productivity! Julie Cooper is the author of Face to Face in the Workplace - A Handbook of Strategies for Effective Discussions. Her book is published in the UK by Career Train Publishing; it costs £20 and is available in all good bookshops. For more information about Julie, visit her website at

ISSUE 53 --- 13

Pera Conference Centre – more than just a venue ….. When choosing a conference venue, the facilities are of course high on the priority list, but equally important is the level of service you receive from the in-house team. Pera’s team has delivered hundreds of successful events from small meetings up to conferences for 500 delegates - and pride themselves on their attention to detail. Their dedicated conference team understands that clients have a vision of what they want from their events, and they do their best to match, or indeed exceed, that vision by working alongside the client from concept to delivery. What’s more, with a Day Delegate Rate starting at just £30.00 plus VAT, they also deliver fantastic value for money without compromising on quality. To find out how they can help make your next event a great success, contact the Events Team on 01664 501501.

The Fleet Auction Group Ltd is an independent Vehicle Auction and Remarketing Company operating from a purpose built location in Coalville, Leicestershire. We run dedicated auction programmes for Cars, Light & Heavy Commercial Vehicles, Plant and Machinery. ‘Best Value’. Our results driven philosophy ensures that the Fleets we partner achieve consistently high residual values, high conversion rates and a fast return of net funds – and all backed up by accurate reporting and ‘good old fashioned’ customer service. Centrally located, we offer full de-fleet facilities including, inspection & collection, refurbishment and a multitude of ‘routes to market’ that you would expect from a company that is ‘setting standards to lead the industry’. Our ‘FlagCam’ live on-line bidding e-auction facility allows account buyers to acquire new stock from our entire auction calendar. ‘Best Practice’. Our unique ethical trading stance will ensure onward traceability and accountability for every vehicle sold: we are the only Auction that operates a strictly Trade Only policy. For further information please contact Guy Pearce on 01530 833535.

Cover Story

Eric Le Corre torques Michelin WRITER Kevin Angel If one company is synonymous with West-Midlands business, even as much as the Potteries rings bells with Stoke-on-Trent and ceramics, it’s Michelin, the UK’s biggest tyre manufacturer. The company have had their roots in the UK within the Midlands since 1927 and although the number of staff has decreased dramatically, the head office is still based in Stoke and the company still provides a lifeline for the regions employment. The question is, how do you fight notable downsizing, ever rising energy prices, the increasingly popular emerging markets taking your trade, and dealing with the reminder of your requirement to be eco-friendly constantly banging at your door? What you need is a leader with incredible foresight, skill and determination to head the responsibility of running such a well-known multi-national company, which is where the Managing Director, Parisian born, Eric-Le Corre comes in. Fully armed with a wealth of knowledge and statistics, Le Corre could be seen as an intimidating force he talks about torque as if its second nature to anyone, rouses off statistics at an alarming rate and his desire to stay ahead of the game seems almost militant. He is although; an amicable character that listens and carefully considers his answers, and despite being branded the Managing Director, is insistent he is simply part of a team of talented people.

16 --- ISSUE 53

Cover Story Journey to the top The Parisian became Managing Director of Michelin UK two years ago after almost a decade prior with the group, working first in the investment relations department before taking a role as Chief Financial Officer for Michelin North America. As you would expect from anyone joining a company in a senior position in late 2010, Le Corre’s first mission was to restore faith in a company that at the time had just undergone a serious case of personnel streamlining. He explains, “When I came into the company I quickly realised that the question a lot of people were asking is what’s next or when are we next, so our first challenge was to simply try and change the mind-set of people. They had seen the size down of industrial operations, sizing down of support groups and I think it really hurt morale.” However, rather than simply carrying on with how things were, Le Corre made it his main priority that him and his team get together to restore faith in the company for its people. “The thing we wanted to establish straight away was the fact we’ve had a great past as a company, but also that we had a great future ahead, but the future might be different from the past.” As the interview goes on, it becomes apparent that Le Corre doesn’t fit the typical stereotype of a major Managing Director in anyway, watching him describe new technologies Michelin has planned, or his belief in his team of staff triggers a spark and an enthusiasm in his eyes, its affable. And what’s more interesting is despite pressing him for answers on numbers and statistics, he routes everything back to people, it seems employees are his key. Le Corre came to Michelin UK in 2010, graduating with a degree in Political Science from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris in 1984, however unhappy with his future potential career, went back to education and qualified for a career in finance from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris in 1986, Eric Le Corre had begun his path to the top. He first came to the Michelin group in 2000 as Head of Investor relations, before being promoted to Chief Financial Officer for Michelin North America in 2006. This was preceded by a series of finance positions in France and a four year stint as a

business analyst in the City of London from 1986. Vision 2015 Michelin in the UK today employs 2,800 people across three sites; (located in Stoke-on-Trent, Ballymena and Dundee) a severe decline from its highest point of over 10,000 staff and six manufacturing sites in its glory days, but despite the job cuts Le Corre insists positivity is the key. He explains this logic, “It would be easy to just look at the negatives, but we had to ask ourselves where we stand in the UK, where we stand in terms of the Michelin group, and where we stand in the world. Once we had assessed this we could identify our weaknesses and work with the management team to decide what the future for the next few years should be.” For Le Corre the future is ‘Vision 2015’ an initiative put together by the

“It’s important we do the most we can to attract people into the industry, rarely when people are looking for new careers do they think of manufacturing, it’s seen by many as dull and not interest, but that’s not true.” He continues, “You can start off as an apprentice but eventually end up being in the sales force or in a management position, but how do we convey that to people? Well we have to get people to engage with us, and tell people why they should come and work with us.” As well as encouraging people to embrace the manufacturing industry, the Stoke-on-Trent site has also seen heavy investment of £20 million for the site’s Remix type plant, allowing them to re-tread truck tyres up to the standard of brand new. For this to be a full success the plant requires continual investment in terms of new technology that

Passenger and Light Truck Tire Owner’s Manual and Limited Warranty, Including the Applicable Treadwear Limited Warranty

wider Michelin group at the tail-end of 2011 and documented in the company’s Annual and Sustainable Development, that heavily forecasts the groups Assertive Strategy for 2011-2015. The document gives little away in terms of planning for an annual capital expenditure of €2 billion, and a target for 25% unit sales growth, whilst perhaps most refreshingly a commitment to 10 days of training per year for every staff member, and are also seeking to make 33% of new hires women. Whilst Le Corre and his team at Michelin look much closer to home, he explains, “With the UK Vision it’s all about changing the mind-set of people, it’s about getting them to see that there is a future ahead of them.”, he goes on to explain in intricate detail the future of the UK company, continually reinforcing the importance of personnel, and creating an outwardly approachable face of the company that will encourage future employment.

will allow the company to keep ahead of its competitors. The team at Michelin hope this will be enough to keep the business flourishing in Stoke-on-Trent and will stop it from being relocated to one of the other UK sites or even overseas to one of the emerging market plants. Throughout the entire meeting almost every response Le Corre gives in some way relates back to the company’s commitment to decarbonising and neutralising their emissions, such a major talking point when you consider how big an energy consumer Michelin UK alone are. To give some perspective, the costs of energy for the company in Northern Ireland equates to a third of their staff cost for the entire plant, which results in the extra cost being equivalent to employing three hundred people and a sum of £11million a year, and worryingly if you are the Managing Director of Michelin, these costs are rising annually. Le Corre himself explains further, “The challenge for us if

we want to remain competitive we need to find ways to neutralise that cost increase and the only way we can do that is to continue our productivity costs or find alternative solutions.” He goes on, “which we have begun to do in Ballymena with the building of two wind turbines but we can still do more.” The wind turbines seem to be a success with them already being installed at the Dundee site, the two turbines now account for 30% of the sites electricity required to power a factory that produces around seven million tyres a year. The government and the industry So, with the government promising to support UK industry and promote growth in all sectors in its 2010 report, what are they doing to help the relatively small tyre manufacturing industry and how does it affect Michelin? Judging by Le Corre’s considered and carefully trodden response to being questioned on it, it seems not as much as he may like, “We are a small industry and tyre manufacturing is a small industry, so we are probably not effective at lobbying or not very effective to the authorities. We feel like we have the government sensitised to our issues, but I have no clue if that will help curb the increase of energy costs… the problem is when we explain our issues to government they do not understand it because you are in fact touching on a series of things that don’t fit into one side, and you have to speak transversely about it.” As well as the tyre sector and the highly lucrative Michelin Travel Partner UK brand (that deals with its travel guides and maps) Michelin is also dedicated to encouraging business and enterprise in the regions it has sites based. The Michelin Development Fund exists in the UK to offer support to small and medium sized enterprises SMEs with help with access to private finance, independent free of charge advice from Michelin’s own in-house expertise and a potential purchase from the company itself should it be relevant to the industries trade, as well as a press release through Michelin’s central channels to help generate publicity. The requirement from Michelin is the completion of a detailed

ISSUE 53 --- 17

Cover Story

Biography 1984: Graduated in political science

from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)

1986: Graduated from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris

The future for Michelin UK, like all businesses with sites in both Europe and in the emerging markets seems uncertain, Le Corre’s desire to ensure maximum business stays in the UK however seems very certain; he is however at no odds with the massive overhaul or challenges the company will face in the future. “A challenge that is looming on the horizon is that we are in a world where volatility of our markets is going to become increasingly the norm and part of our day to day business, in a sense that there may be part of the year where we are operating at 100% of our productivity, but that might go down and go up again throughout the year, so we will have to learn to be a lot more re-active to the market.” Eric forecasts an unpredictable future for the UK group, one where until things are changed or worked out to be managed more effectively, at times temporary plant closures may be unstoppable, as happened at the Dundee plant between the end of May and Mid-June in 2011, although Le Corre insists this closure was with the staffs full support and backing.

Le Corre’s Legacy The one thing that strikes you instantly from talking with Le Corre is that he has more planned than he lets on; he seems intent on major change, driving the UK group forward and ensuring he actually makes a difference. You get the feeling that any future job cuts he would have to make would actually bother him and that he really lives and breathes Michelin. As ever he remains suitably modest, so what does Eric Le Corre, Managing Director of Michelin Tyre Public Limited Company think his role is within the company and how would he like to be remembered?

application and the submission of a business plan or a business report advocated by a qualified business advisor. The concept has been running in France for more than 35 years and has existed in the UK for the past 10 years. In that time the initiative has provided more than £5 million of funding and has helped create more than 2,000 jobs.

His answer reads almost like an epitaph, “I think when you manage a team, you are only a temporary steward of the asset you manage, so if the day I leave I can get people to understand that they had it in them to build a greater future in the UK and change their mind set, and if I have helped convince the wider Michelin group that the UK is still an interesting proposition for manufacturing and sales I think I will have done my job” As he finishes this sentence he lays back into his chair, picks up his cup, and before he sips he pauses and smirks, “well that’s what they expect of me anyway.”

I think when you manage a team, you are only a temporary steward of the asset you manage

18 --- ISSUE 53

1986-1990: Business Analyst for a London-based joint venture between Crédit Commercial de France and New York Life 1990-1991: Returned to France

as Account Manager with Société Générale- Commercial real-estate lease financing division

1991-1999: Various positions including Secrétair Général with private French bank, BIMP. 2000: Appointed Head of Investor Relations for Michelin Group

2006: Appointed Chief Financial Officer for Michelin North America 2010: Appointed Managing Director of Michelin UK

to benefit from the numerous business opportunities from recruiting apprentices, the LEP launched a new apprenticeship helpline in 2012. The helpline has specialist advisors standing by to provide expertise on everything from finding the right young person, the steps needed to set up a successful apprenticeship programme, to the grants available for employers taking on their first apprentice.

Financial support i54 South Staffordshire Aerial View

Staffordshire Means Business How strategic thinking and handson support are engineering a county where business can flourish. Economic growth and job creation are Staffordshire County Council’s number one priority. We are working in tandem with the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), businesses and neighbouring councils, to deliver an extensive programme of planning, development and practical help to make the county one of the best places to do business in the UK. Whether you are a sole trader start-up or a multinational manufacturing titan, advice, support and incentives are available to establish and expand your commercial operations.

Laying the foundations Staffordshire is located in the heart of the country, with excellent road and rail links. New industrial sites are being developed across the county to make the most of this geographical advantage. The most high profile is i54 South Staffordshire, where Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is currently building its new advanced engine plant. The County Council and Wolverhampton City Council pledged £40m to develop the hi-tech site, including the build of a new motorway junction off the M54, and have worked closely with South Staffordshire Council to attract JLR to the site. Its £355m investment will create 750 jobs plus many thousands more in the supply chain. Aircraft parts manufacturer Moog, and Eurofins UK, a leading scientific testing and analysis company, are already up and running on site while other plots are being marketed. Elsewhere work is underway on a business park at Redhill, Stafford, offering space for up to 2,500 skilled jobs. County council

investment of £6m into the IC5 development at Keele University Science Park offers space for 130 more hi-tech jobs. Staffordshire County Council’s Leader, Philip Atkins, said: “Since 2006, employment in manufacturing has grown by around 25% in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent compared to a 12% reduction in the UK. “Sites like i54 South Staffordshire and Redhill aim to continue that momentum and cement the County’s reputation as a centre of excellence in manufacturing and advanced materials.” On a smaller scale, Staffordshire’s 13 Enterprise Centres provide flexible facilities where entrepreneurs and start-ups can turn up, plug in and establish their business, with the security of paying fixed monthly rent.

Connectivity Developing sites for new business is one part of the package. The County Council is taking the lead in improving infrastructure to make those sites even more attractive. Over the last three years, an additional £50m has been pumped into improving roads. A further £7.44m investment will deliver superfast broadband to 90% of the county by 2015. This investment recognises the importance of fast and reliable highways – both literal as well as technological - to modern business.

The right advice The County Council and LEP offer a red carpet approach to attract new business and help existing ones grow. The offer includes a Business Helpline, which since its launch in January 2012, has given hundreds of callers advice on setting up or expanding their business. This one point of contact makes it easier for entrepreneurs, big or small, to get the information they need with the minimum of fuss.

With banks and mainstream lenders keeping a tight hold on their purse strings, the Staffordshire Business Support Fund is a vital part of the county council’s continued drive to improve the local economy. It is managed by not-for-profit company BCRS on the county council’s behalf, offering loans of between £10,000 and £50,000. Across the whole of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, the LEP also supports firms as they bid for grants, such as Regional Growth Fund money. More local firms secured funding in October, including Wedgwood and Goodwin PLC in Trentham. Reacting to the news, LEP chairman Ron Dougan said: “We have a strong industrial manufacturing base here in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and this funding will help it to expand further. “We now look forward to the funding making a real difference to our economy and creating jobs. In addition it should bring in further investment and enhance our reputation as the place to do business. “The LEP is on hand to support firms big and small across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent get the funding, information and skills they need to flourish and create more jobs for local people.” To accelerate this package of economic support Staffordshire County and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils are working with the LEP to secure a city-county deal from government. It would mean greater powers and funding to grow the economy and create 50,000 more jobs over the next 10 years. The Councils are due to hear back from government in January. Philip Atkins added: “This package of support, and our partnership with the LEP and other councils, demonstrates that Staffordshire means business. “We are working together and making the most of our geography, natural resources and skilled residents, to engineer a county where business can thrive.”

Regular information sessions, such as export information events staged by the County Council in partnership with UK Trade and Investment, are open to local firms to help broaden their horizons and customer base. To make sure that local companies are able

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Business Helpline and the Apprenticeship Helpline, call 0300 111 8002. New investors looking to relocate a business or expand the operations can also call Make It Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire on 0300 111 8005.

Further information is also available at



Gerald Poutney (centre) of Uncle’s Money

PAWNBROKING: a newbies guide WRITER Kevin Angel The pawnbroking industry is booming across the UK and is currently f lying 5% above the industries yearly national average, and forms part of a £500 million year loan market. As many use their assets as a resolution to financial trouble, it seems the face of the traditional pawn shop user is changing. Ever increasingly now small businesses and wealthy consumers are using the once maligned industry to help generate working capital or fund their aff luent lifestyles.

down to the reincarnation of the highstreet brokers, with many now resembling jewellers, and the advent of online broking companies allowing consumers absolute discretion throughout the entire pawning process.

Recent figures from a YouGov poll revealed that 9 million people are refused credit each year by mainstream lenders and 4.2 million people only have basic accounts with no credit facilities, practically ostracising them from any form of conventional financial credit option and creating a potentially large market for alternative credit lenders such as pawnbrokers to capitalise on.

“The continued failure of banks to lend has resulted in pawnbrokers increasingly becoming the high-street lender of choice for businesses and the middle-classes. The professional standards of NPA members, flexibility of loans and high customer satisfaction levels provide people from all walks of life with a clear alternative.’”

However, the once frowned upon and last port of call world of pawnbroking has had something of a make-over since the recession starting grinding the axe across all income levels, with the number of pawn shops across the UK nearly trebling in the past seven years. The industry is now fully regulated and monitored under The Consumer Credit Act and as such it seems the P word is now not as shamefully muttered, but more embraced as a credible way of securing a short-term loan. It’s thought part of this is

20 --- ISSUE 53

But what has led to the popularity of people utilising this Dickensian service? Ray Perry, chief executive of the National Pawn Association, the trade group that looks after the interests of those in the industry explains why he thinks they are currently reigning in their golden era:

Consumers of all classes and incomes are seemingly favouring pawnbrokers as an alternative form of credit over banks, as they are much more affordable than the other leading credit solution, pay-day loans. Pawnbroking loans are considerably cheaper than pay-day loans which typically charge an APR of over 100% whilst the former just 5-10% interest a month which equates to an average of 69% APR.

The new face of pawnbroking The biggest change in the world of pawnbroking is the surprise emergence of the

middle and upper classes using brokers to pay for things like school fees or company wage bills. Online pawnbrokers, who began trading in 2008, have been leading the way in this affluent revolution, and rather than being called pawnbrokers refer to themselves as ‘high-end asset lenders’. The company has been so successful they filed a gross profit of £2,247,393 in December 2011 despite only starting trading in 2008. has consciously marketed itself towards the higher-end of industry and 75% of the loans give are for amounts between £2,000 and £20,000, the remaining amount comprises mainly of affluent customers that are requiring between £50,000 and £250,000 to complete business deals. The company can offer up to £1,000,000 in certain circumstances and did so in June 2011, with a widely publicised loan against prestige cars in a carefully planned business growth opportunity by an unnamed customer. Furthermore a similar deal was met with Malcom Scanlon of Niche Financial Solutions against a collection of fine art, used to top up a client’s bridging loan. Similarly some high-street pawnbrokers are now looking towards the higher echelons of the market, including Surrey-based high-end company Prestige Pawnbrokers who focus more towards those who enjoy and can afford the finer things in life. They aptly describe themselves on their website as giving ‘pawnbroker loans against art, watches, gold, jewellery, antiques, cars, logbooks, wine, property & land and collectables.’ Pawnbroking is a mixed-bag of an industry, acting as many different things to many different types of people, it can offer a small income for those in need who have found gold in an old forgotten about box or it can help fund a car for those who are inpatient for payday. What it does seem to be though is a simple and honest way of getting cash quick that isn’t going anywhere soon.



dollar pawn Gerald Poutney on the UK’s booming pawn industry Talking to Gerald Poutney Senior, the 63 year-old behind Uncle’s Money, the now infamous pawnbroking business as featured on the BBC documentary series ‘Cash Britain’ is like supping knowledge from an entrepreneurial oracle. There isn’t an idea he hasn’t had, a project he wouldn’t consider or a pawned item he hasn’t been approached about (gold teeth included). He talks to Midlands in Business with a refreshingly honest wisdom about finances, the admittedly lucrative pawnbroking industry that has seen him through two recessions and his involvement in the regeneration of Birmingham. Birmingham-born Gerald Poutney entered into the heady world of business as a school boy, and seemed a born entrepreneur from the off, “When I was at school I always used to work in the holidays with my step-father on buildings and during that time I got quite good at roofing, so when I left school I went to work full-time for a roofing company. As it happened, eventually I was earning more money at the weekend doing private jobs than I was for the company, so at just 18 I set off and started my own roofing company.” By 23, Gerald’s pro-activism had allowed him to build up his own team of staff and he had already gone on to develop an acute business sense.

The early days He first realised the potential of the pawnbroking industry back in 1982 as a warehouse owner during the ‘infamous’ recession, as his own customers increasingly came to him and offered him jewellery or valued items in exchange for his goods as they faced their own financial troubles. He accepted many of the offers and when he hit his own money problems Gerald was forced to consider using a pawnbroker himself, despite not really knowing about how the industry worked at the time. His warehousing company collapsed, but undeterred Gerald carried on, “I got very badly mauled in the recession, I lost an awful lot and I thought what business can I go into that does well in bad times? I started looking around for other opportunities and came upon pawnbroking.” Gerald succeeded in his hope of ascertaining a future proof business and has the figures to prove it, in 2011 the company’s turnover rocketed by 79% to £934,000 and saw a 24.5% increase to £1,163,000 in 2012. These led to profits of £224,370 and £395,350 respectively, a significant financial increase that Mr Poutney puts down in part due to

the major rise in the price of gold over recent years. He is however incredibly coy about all his company’s successes. Working in what’s often dubbed the ‘alternative credit’ industry he naturally seems sceptical of the modern banking system, is wary of what he believes the system has become and strongly believes that the nation’s access to traditional credit is going to worsen, not improve, despite the country being declared out of recession. “I think the bank managers who should be running the banks aren’t allowed to do so, and that some hidden people dictate everything, those who work in the credit departments.” Gerald goes on and enthuses his learned views, “What real bank managers are is problem solvers, if you need something done, they try and solve the problem without a major risk, but they aren’t allowed to do that anymore and I think that’s an actual shame.”

The pawn consumer So who uses Gerald’s services? Whilst some people may see the pawn industry as a rather shady affair or as a last resort, more and more affluent customers are using their services to fund their lifestyles. “There’s no such thing as a typical customer in pawnbroking, but we are seeing more and more middle class people who are out of work or starting new businesses and who need to keep themselves going. As well as a lot of business from small businesses who are pawning there collateral for working capital.” The documentation of his business on ‘Cash Britain’ was as much as a favour to the pawn industry as it was for his own benefit. Allowing a national institution like the BBC into your business for 8 months and having them set up 24-hour streaming cameras would make any business quake, let alone an industry much maligned as pawnbroking, but that’s exactly why Uncle’s Money agreed to do it. “We agreed to do the TV show to show that there are two sides to every coin, both the pawnbrokers and what the people are getting money from use it for, it also shatters any peoples judgements that pawnbrokers are a bit dodgy or whatever.” Luckily for the company the gamble paid off, the show was widely praised by the press and viewers alike, it regularly received a viewership of over 4 million and has been nominated for a National Television Award in the ‘Best Documentary’ category. As well as being something of a key-player in the Birmingham pawn world, Gerald Poutney’s other real passion seems to lie with his involvement in the regeneration of Birmingham, he has an on-going series of business projects he has been involved in for more than two decades, “That all started when I had my roofing company and we needed to take on more work. But when that went a bit short I bought some land and built factory units on it, and from there we took on listed and derelict buildings and turned them into modern business centres”. Gerald initially worked in partnership with local builders merchants

and through a government initiative was able to secure grant aids for certain areas he was working on. This included the now defunct ‘Heartlands City Challenge’ a scheme first set-up in 1992 to develop 9.5 square kilometres of land in the East of Birmingham, that majorly helped with him gaining finances. Despite the halt in funding from government and city council grants Poutney still shows no sign of stalling, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly sees the future of his business ventures in the world of microbreweries and afro-Caribbean cooking; insisting that niche brewing is the future of the UK trade industry. So, as someone with over twenty-five years of experience as a pawnbroker and a strong grasp on the mechanics of the economy his forecast for the future of his industry and of the money lending world maybe surprising to some. “I think with the current climate it’s 100% perfect for us to have a whole load of pawnbroker shops on the high-street and for each to provide a different service. One provides bridging loans, one helps mortgages and then of course someone do the traditional pawning. Whether it’s an ideal situation for some people, because there’s a lot of people out there who are sitting on a lot of money and don’t have a safe home to put it in. This system is like banking and there’s room for this to be on the high-street, like another tier of banking, but where people can actually get credit, instead of being refused it.” Whilst this idea maybe difficult to fathom, Gerald describes this concept in such detail and with such conviction it’s easy to believe that he already has a blue-print on which he could roll this concept out, as revolutionary and perhaps crazy as it may seem.

The future of pawnbroking The question is does Gerald think the bubble will ever burst on pawnbroking and will a time come soon where he has to reign in his pawning and revert back to his building and renovation projects? “With the restrictions that are happening financially all over the world getting finance is going to be so difficult I can’t see the industry shrinking, remember 5.6 million people haven’t got a bank account, and every week being are being refused bank accounts. Credit control is getting so tight, there’s going to be a strong market for a long time ahead yet I think.” Agree with them ethically or not, it seems pawnbrokers are here to stay and the British consumer and businessman seems more than happy to make use of the services. The reputation of pawnbroking is changing as is the face, pawnbrokers are no longer underhanded but fully fledged business people who are approachable, open and honest, and as such, pawn is no longer such a dirty word.


WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS you used a pawnbroker “ Haveto fund your business? “

Join us at @midsbusiness

ISSUE 53 --- 21

Confidence and investment in the West Midlands In the UK, at the start of this year, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) accounted for 99.9% of all enterprises, 59.1% of private sector employment and 48.8% of private sector turnover. So the success of SME’s is a key factor in the economic recovery both nationwide and more locally, in the West Midlands. Recovery depends on confidence - confidence to invest and expand. If the confidence is lacking then, if you were a business owner, why would you extend your pub or shop or increase the capacity of your factory? Why risk borrowing money or investing your savings in a venture which may fall flat on its face? Let’s start at the bottom of the food chain – the consumer. The West Midlands has a high level of unemployment. If you are fortunate enough to be employed you may still have had your income reduced – cutbacks on overtime or even wage levels. At a time when income is tight or when you are worried about job security, you cut back on non-essentials – spending at restaurants, florists, hairdressers, pubs - what is generally referred to as discretionary spending. This has an impact not just on the retailer or publican but their suppliers – the wholesalers. In turn this hits the manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials...and their employees - the consumers. It is easy to see how a downward spiral ensues. A recent survey undertaken by Barclays Bank in the West Midlands amongst SMEs highlighted the fact that 62% of business managers had deferred making major decisions over the last year in case they went wrong. Other participants in the survey suggested that their approach was one of “playing safe” and thinking on a day-to-day basis and were more cautious about long term decisions. When it comes to investment in SMEs, it really is a case of which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do you invest and increase your capacity and then promote your business or do you market your business first and risk not being able to fulfil orders because you didn’t invest sooner? An added dimension is difficulty in raising finance to fund your plans. At a time when few businesses have not picked up some battle scars from the recession, banks are often reluctant to lend. If you are in a B2B business then chances are that you may be able raise money through Asset Based Lenders – refinancing fixed assets or using invoice finance. Whilst most people agree that recovery in the West Midlands will be slow, it will happen. The businesses which do survive will be leaner and fitter and in a better position to make the most of opportunities which will be available. In the meantime the short term focus must be on survival. If you are a business owner faced with cash flow difficulties the worst thing you can do is to ignore the problem. At Wilson Field we specialise in helping businesses in such situations. With over 80 staff from a variety of backgrounds – accountancy, banking, HMRC, insolvency, the legal profession as well as former business owners there is a wealth of experience at your disposal. For FREE, confidential advice contact Neil Jeeves on 01564 711581 Do it now – you know it makes sense.



Call us for free confidential advice on 0800 458 3320


Free Consultation Business Reviews

Wilson Field…

Funding Options


Constructive and sympathetic no matter how difficult the circumstances are.

Forward-thinking and creative offering a commercially aware approach to resolving problems.

With years of experience, we value our reputation and ensure we offer the best advice.

Solutions for... Companies Partnerships Sole Traders Individuals



Our free breakfast could save you a fortune (and a pile of misery) Workplace Pensions: Be prepared – or pay up All you need to know in 90 minutes - 27th February 2013 Have you seen the government ad campaign called “Are you in?” Maybe you ignored it as just another waste of money – but please don’t. If you run a company, by law you will have to provide a workplace pension scheme for employees. Many firms are finding it takes up to 2 years to prepare for how it affects HR, finance, payroll and communications. And you must prepare, because if you’re not ready when the time comes terrifying fines are lined up – which go up every day. Plus the possibility of being sued by your employees. This free breakfast seminar on workplace pensions tells all you need to know. Leading financial and legal specialists Helen Blackburn of Oaklands and Fergal Dowling of Irwin Mitchell reveal:

● How to minimise the costs and maximise the benefits

(yes, there are some!)

● What your HR, finance and communications people must do ● How employee contracts and company Trust Deeds must change ● How to avoid costly legal challenges from your employees Wednesday 27th February. 8:30am prompt start, 10:00 finish. At Irwin Mitchell’s offices: 31 Temple St, Birmingham B2 5DB Tea/Coffee and Hot Breakfast Rolls at 8:00am Reserve your place now, Just email “Midlands breakfast” to or call Oaklands Wealth Management on 0121 355 4455



HELP FOR WEST MIDLANDS exporters set to take off The West Midlands’ UK Trade & Investment provide advice on trading abroad

West Midlands’ goods, service and expertise are in demand throughout the world, but many SMEs do not consider trading abroad as they lack the information, advice and guidance needed to take the plunge into international trade. The West Midlands’ UK Trade and Investment are aiming to provide this service with a range of new initiatives…

Help for new West Midlands exporters Local companies which have never sold their goods and services beyond the UK are being urged to get on board with a new UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) offer, £99 introductory visits to Europe. For less than a hundred pounds UKTI will introduce firms to a new market. Group flights, accommodation, group transport and activities once out there are paid for. There are market visits from now until the end of March; a perfect chance to experience a different overseas market, including countries such as Turkey, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden as well as Eurozone countries such as Germany, Ireland and France.

24 --- ISSUE 53

Paul Noon, the West Midlands’ UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Regional Director said: “Exporting can seem very daunting at first as so many questions need to be answered. Our new ‘Export Insight’ visits, to many European destinations, are designed to help address these questions by introducing novice and non-exporters to the principles of international trade. “This low-cost offer is part of the announcement by Lord Green, highlighting a series of measures worth £9 million to get SMEs exporting. “West Midlands and British goods, services and expertise are very much in demand all around the world and there are so many benefits to exporting. Companies that do export grow faster and survive longer than those that don’t.” For further information on the programme of Export Insight Visits to Europe, including eligibility criteria, go to or call Patrick McCarron, UKTI West Midlands on 0121 607 1751.

Online service A free online service has been launched to provide small and

medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with information, advice and guidance on exporting overseas. The service ‘Open to Export’,, is launched by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in partnership with hibu plc (formerly Yell Group). Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: “Supporting more small and medium sized enterprises to export is a key part of the government’s plan for growth. The Prime Minister outlined this as a national challenge last year, targeting a further 100,000 British businesses exporting by 2020 and the doubling of export receipts to £1 trillion. “Half of the UK’s exports, by value, already come from SMEs. Open to Export will provide practical assistance, advice and support to other businesses looking to make that crucial first step to sell into foreign markets.” Richard Hanscott, Chief Executive Officer of hibu in the UK, said: “We have a long established relationship with the SME community and UKTI research tells us that 33% of businesses report that lack of contacts is a barrier to export. Hibu’s digital strategy is to help communities thrive and the Open to Export site is already achieving this by giving small businesses access to the knowledge and advice necessary to grow with confidence outside the UK.” John Cridland, CBI DirectorGeneral, said: “We know that boosting our exports, especially to new high-growth markets will be a crucial driver of future UK growth. The Government’s ‘Open to Export’ portal will help support business export success, by creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ of advice for both would-be and existing exporters. Importantly the platform will also allow companies to share market intelligence and network.

“Hearing how one firm succeeded in overcoming this piece of regulation or that market access challenge could be just the light bulb moment needed for another firm to make the leap into selling, and winning overseas.” The launch of the website comes just over a year after the Prime Minister set a national challenge to raise the number of small businesses that export from one in five to one in four. By increasing the number of companies who export by roughly a quarter, about £36 billion could be added to the UK economy. The service is a new, free online community that gives small businesses the guidance and in-depth information they need to expand their business abroad. Companies will receive bespoke answers to meet their business needs in new markets, access practical information on export topics, connect and engage with a range of exporters and explore the latest international opportunities for their business. In addition to accessing government advice, through international trade advisors based at British embassies and high commissions, companies can also receive support from existing and prospective exporters, lawyers, accountants and independent trade advisors. Exports are vital for the country’s economic recovery. The latest research shows that firms who export generate an average growth of 30% after exporting for just two years. The government has also recently announced £9 million worth of support to help boost trade opportunities for SME businesses.


Phill Potter, Export Finance Advisor

Phill’s top tips to company finance and overseas sales: 1. Understand the different impacts

on the trade cycle when exporting and therefore the potential impact on cash-flow and working capital needs. For example it takes longer to deliver goods to Warsaw compared to Walsall and also potentially longer for payment to be received.

ACCESS TO LOCAL FINANCE EXPERTISE West Midlands’ exporters are also set to benefit from a new export finance expert with the appointment of an Export Finance Adviser tasked with helping exporters get access to finance for their export needs. Phill Potter, who brings 34 years of experience in the banking industry to the role, will give local firms support on accessing finance and insurance for trading overseas. His appointment is announced by UK Export Finance and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). Phill’s most recent post was at HSBC, where he developed their international trade strategy for the Midlands. He was born in Worcestershire and has lived and worked in the region all his life, working principally in the SME market, so is no stranger to the challenges currently faced by local exporters. Commenting on his role as the region’s Export Finance Adviser, Phill said: “There is nothing better than working directly with West Midlands firms, on a one-to-one basis, adding value to their business. “With my experience in the banking industry, it means I can give practical, impartial advice from the financial structure of a business to how companies can best approach banks when looking for finance, as I know what they’ll be looking out for. “This is the first time since the closure of regional offices in 1991 that UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, has had a regional presence. Working alongside UKTI advisers means we can offer an even more extensive range of free advice for exporters. “My role is to give firms an independent view on how to access finance, guidance on insurance when dealing in overseas trade and give help and support along the way. Most of my time is being spent raising awareness of my role and the government support available to exporters, by both speaking at exporter events, but also

travelling around the West Midlands region to meet companies looking for advice, particularly smaller companies.” Commenting on the new role, Doug Mahoney, UKTI Regional Director for the West Midlands said: “The addition of Phill to our team and the vast experience he brings will strengthen the range of advice and practical support that companies can already access through UKTI. Ultimately we are always looking to encourage more local firms to trade overseas to boost their long-term profits and help the local economy. “Finding finance help can be a challenge, so for companies to be able to speak to a finance expert will help remove some of the barriers around finding appropriate insurance cover or bank finance, particularly for smaller firms.” Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive of UK Export Finance said: “I am aware that smaller exporters face a wide, and sometimes baffling, array of options for insuring or financing their export contracts. Our new Export Finance Advisers, working alongside regional UK Trade and Investment staff will signpost businesses to where to source credit insurance and trade finance, trade support bodies and explain the products of UK Export Finance. “The aim is for exporters to get all the support they need to help manage their risks and cash flow when exporting.”

2. Really understand your buyer and their market - do as much research as possible using all sources including UKTI International Trade Adviser. Consider credit insurance to guarantee payment in the event of buyer not wanting to/being able to pay and also the sovereign risks of that country. 3. Negotiate the most secure method of payment for your goods or services to try to keep you in control of timing of receiving your money and potentially keeping control of the goods in the meantime. 4. Prepare an export business plan (in conjunction with UKTI) especially around finances, including all your planning around mitigating the risks in 1-3 above. Use your accountant on the financial aspects if needed - this can give additional credibility to your plan if seeking export finance for the first time. 5. Approach your existing finance provider with your plan and a clear request for what you need. If they are not able to assist ensure you understand why. Ask them whether they have considered the support available from UK Export Finance, especially if they like your plan but do not feel able to support.

Contact Phill to find out more about UK Export Finance and the range of trade finance solutions available, or to arrange a free appointment, call him on 07866 480996. To access the free service offered by UKTI, please contact your local Chambers of Commerce, or call 0845 074 3515.

ISSUE 53 --- 25

New Regional Director for UK Trade & Investment West Midlands Paul says: “I’m very much looking forward to taking up this position which will give me the chance to build on the excellent work being done by colleagues to support West Midland business grow our international markets and in particular, reach out to those companies who have not exported before, or who feel export is not for them. There are certainly numerous challenges ahead for local firms, but lots of help is available. UKTI can support companies of all shapes and sizes and our services are tailored to the individual needs of the companies we work with.” He continues:

From Sydney to Solihull: Paul Noon brings wealth of experience from postings across the globe to help West Midlands firms Regional exporters are to see a new leader at the helm of UK Trade & Investment with the appointment of West Midlands International Trade Director, Paul Noon, OBE who has taken up the role this week (1 December 2012). Paul’s most recent post was in Sydney, Australia, where he was Director of Trade for Australia and New Zealand for four years. There Paul worked with hundreds of companies, many from the West Midlands, to support them to grow their export businesses in Australasia. He also supported Australian companies to invest in the UK. Sydney was Paul’s fifth overseas posting after Damascus, Syria; Bonn, Germany; Wellington, New Zealand and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has also worked in several departments of the Foreign Office in London.

“Key to progress is continuing to encourage our exports into wider, faster growing markets. This will not be for everyone, and our traditional markets will remain vitally important. But the potential to ride the wave of growth in Asia, South America and the Middle East is compelling and, with the right support and guidance, is achievable for many more companies in this region.” Paul joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1989. His varied career has enabled him to work in diverse areas of foreign policy including political, trade policy, consular and visa work. Some of his overseas roles have been unexpectedly challenging, for example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Paul was Deputy Head of Mission in Kinshasa, during an unstable transition of governments. He led the team through some difficult security situations including frequent squalls of rebel fighting which broke out in the city while Paul was in charge. It was following this posting that Paul was awarded an OBE in the Birthday

For further information please call 0845 074 3515 or visit

Honours list of 2008 for his service in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Paul’s key tasks in his new role as Regional Director are to support local business grow and develop new and existing export markets, and to attract inward investment to the region. He will manage key relationships with the six Chambers of Commerce in the region that deliver most of UKTI’s services to regional businesses. He will work closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities, enterprise zones, universities and cities to support local growth and attract investment. He will also be working with a wide range of professional partnerships across the region that provide complimentary support to business. Paul was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, but grew up in Whitby, North Yorkshire. He is married with two children and during the week, lives in Birmingham.

Online service for small businesses ‘Open to Export’ is launched by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in partnership with hibu plc. (formerly Yell Group). Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: “Supporting more small and medium sized enterprises to export is a key part of the government’s plan for growth. The Prime Minister outlined this as a national challenge last year, targeting a further 100,000 British businesses exporting by 2020 and the doubling of export receipts to £1 trillion. “Half of the UK’s exports, by value, already come from SMEs. Open to Export will provide practical assistance, advice and support to other businesses looking to make that crucial first step to sell into foreign markets." Richard Hanscott, Chief Executive Officer of hibu in the UK, said: “We have a long established relationship with the SME community and UKTI research tells us that 33% of businesses report that lack of contacts is a barrier to export. hibu’s digital strategy is to help communities thrive and the Open to Export site is already achieving this by giving small businesses access to the knowledge and advice necessary to grow with confidence outside the UK.” The launch of the website comes just over a year after the Prime Minister set a national challenge to raise the number of small businesses that export from one in five to one in four. By increasing the number of companies who export by roughly a

quarter, about £36 billion could be added to the UK economy. The Open to Export Service is a new, free online community that gives small businesses the guidance and in-depth information they need to expand their business abroad. Companies will receive bespoke answers to meet their business needs in new markets, access practical information on export topics, connect and engage with a range of exporters and explore the latest international opportunities for their business. In addition to accessing government advice, through international trade advisors based at British embassies and high commissions, companies can also receive support from existing and prospective exporters, lawyers, accountants and independent trade advisors. Exports are vital for the country’s economic recovery. The latest research shows that firms that export generate an average growth of 30 per cent after exporting for just two years. Alongside, the government has also recently announced £9 million worth of support to help boost trade opportunities for SME businesses and from 12 November is launching this year’s national Export Week campaign.

Denmark – Export Insight visits an unrivalled opportunity to expand your business overseas for £99+vat. Date: 4th – 5th March 2012 Whether you are a small or middle-sized company with limited international experience or a truly global multinational with a strong presence in Denmark, UK Trade & Investment Denmark can assist your company to grow business in the Danish market and across the Nordic region. The Danish market is an open, attractive and yet competitive one where there are significant business opportunities for UK companies proposing value-added, innovative and unique technologies, products or services. The market represents a multitude of openings across a broad range of industries for companies demonstrating excellence, novelty and relevance. ‘Me-too’-products catering to a crowded market place will often encounter difficulties gaining access to the Danish market. Product differentiation, high brand value and trend-setting propositions will, in most instances, be positively received.

You can expect to learn about the dynamics of the Danish market to include the political and economic structure, language and culture, and business/sector opportunities. On hand to answer any questions and offer support and advice will be representatives from our overseas commercial teams as well as UKTI personnel that will have accompanied the group from the UK. To be eligible to join this visit you need to be a UK new or novice exporter that hasn’t been or isn’t currently part of the Passport to Export or Gateway to Global Growth programmes. Your current export turnover should be less than 25% of which no more than 10% pro-active exports and your overall turnover should be in excess of £100k. To register your interest please visit


FINANCE In these troubled times, with credit tight and confidence low, the evident truth of the business adage “cash is king” has become clearer than ever. The economy grew by 1% in the last quarter and corporate insolvencies were down but the jury is very much out on whether the economy has turned a corner. So if the worst happens and a company goes bust owing you money what happens next? The first thing to be aware of is that there are several different types of insolvency - and they affect creditors’ rights and claims differently.

How much can I expect back? It depends on how much value is left in the company and your status as a creditor.



The Insolvency Service offers their advice to creditors

When a company is wound up, the assets are gathered together by a liquidator – if there are any assets - and the liquidator’s fees and expenses get paid out of the pot first, followed by payments to secured creditors, and finally unsecured creditors. The Insolvency Service’s John Taylor, Official Receiver in the Midlands, said: “The chances of an unsecured creditor getting their money back are low, so be prepared. Unsecured creditors are last in the queue and it’s rare for them to get much back.” If you are an unsecured creditor, the short answer is ‘not much.’

Who will be helping to find my money? In cases of compulsory liquidation, the court is involved. A petition is presented to the court by a creditor saying that they are owed money by a company and that the company cannot pay. A windingup order is then made by the court and the Official Receiver becomes the liquidator. In cases of creditors’ voluntary liquidation, the creditors hold a meeting and appoint an insolvency practitioner to act as liquidator. The official receiver (OR) is an officer of the court and a civil servant - whereas an insolvency practitioner (IP) is a private sector accountant or lawyer. It is at this stage that the work begins to track down funds to pay creditors. In most cases where there are substantial assets to track down, the person handling the day

28 --- ISSUE 53

to day administration, acting as a go-between creditors and debtors and tracking down the debts, is an IP. Official Receiver John Taylor described his part in the process: “Think of it as an iceberg: the majority of the iceberg is under the water with just a tiny bit on the top, and our job is to work out how much is below the waterline. “So, the first principle for an OR when a business comes his or her way is to establish what’s going on under the water. This means a phone call to the business, going round to the premises and tracing and interviewing the company officers. Then, if we find there are assets, the role changes to how to deal with them. At this stage, the case will probably get passed out to a liquidator in the private sector.”

What can I expect as a creditor? The liquidator should contact all creditors automatically. If you think you have a claim and have not heard anything then find out who is handling the case and contact to them. This information is available through Companies House or the Insolvency Enquiry Line, just call 0845 602 9848 or e-mail insolvency.enquiryline@ Once a claim is filed, the liquidator issues a report to creditors detailing the company assets that are available to be distributed. If you are a creditor and have any information about a company’s assets that might be useful, then keep the liquidator informed. You should respond to whoever is dealing with the insolvency, providing the full name of the individual or company as well as your own details. The next stage is a creditors’ meeting. If there are no substantial assets to divvy up then the meeting generally doesn’t go ahead and the Official Receiver stays in charge. But if there are assets, the creditors meet to appoint an Insolvency Practitioner and get the ball rolling. Creditors’ meetings can either be intimate affairs or much grander. Birmingham-based laminate floor retailer Floor My Home Ltd was wound up earlier this year and the company has so many creditors that the Official Receiver has had to hire a conference room at Birmingham Football Ground for the creditor meeting.

FINANCE Don’t worry if contact from the liquidator is sporadic. Tracking down the assets and selling them to pay creditors can take anywhere from a few weeks to a number of years if the case is complex or leads to an investigation into the company’s directors. Official Receiver John Taylor explained: “When the examiner talks to directors after an insolvency, the examiner will be trying to establish if there was any unfit conduct, so any interview is conducted under caution – under the provisions of the Perjury Act. “If there’s an investigation after this conversation, the Official Receiver can’t tell creditors about it because there are all sorts of data protection issues, so we really can’t say a great deal.” The liquidator will automatically notify creditors of the eventual outcome of the process, either by distributing any money available to be shared out or, if there are no assets available, the informing creditors the case will be closed.

Types of insolvency Liquidation – compulsory & voluntary: The most common kind of corporate insolvency is creditors’ voluntary liquidation. This is where the directors, creditors and shareholders agree that the company should be wound up and the assets sold off to pay its creditors. A compulsory liquidation is the when creditors themselves petition the court to wind up a company that cannot pay its debts – with or without the consent of the directors. Administration: Creditors – or directors - can ask the courts to step in and appoint an administrator to help “fix” a company they believe is struggling. Since the Enterprise Act in 2002 rescue has been put at the heart of administration – where companies can be saved, they should be saved. Once in administration, creditors cannot force companies into liquidation, so the process effectively holds creditors at bay. But, if rescue isn’t possible, liquidation may be the outcome of an administration. Receivership: Unlike administrators – who are appointed by the court - an administrative receiver is appointed by a secured creditor who has a claim on specific assets of the company. The receiver’s goal is to act in the interests of this creditor only – not any of the others. However, the other creditors can still bring legal action and liquidators can be appointed – unlike in administration. “Pre-pack” administrations: These are where a business is sold immediately after it enters administration – the company continues trading, leaving its debts behind. Pre-packs are used in cases when a business needs to act quickly to preserve value – for example so it can hang on to key employees or contracts. Secured creditors are consulted on the pre-pack sale in advance of it happening, because charged assets cannot be sold without the agreement of the charge-holder. Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA): This is a binding agreement between a company and its creditors about how the company will pay its debts over a set period. A CVA can be proposed by the administrator, the liquidator - if the company is being wound up, or the directors. It cannot be proposed by creditors, but 75% of them have to agree to the proposal.

Case study

“ We had a recent case of a jeweller

who went bankrupt. We had to go for enforcement action because he didn’t cooperate with the bankruptcy proceedings,” said John Taylor, Official Receiver.

“ We needed to track him down to establish

if there were any assets. There was no sign of him at the business premises so we went to his house where we found him. He had become almost like a recluse.

“ We couldn’t believe it but he had a briefcase with half a million pounds worth of jewels – uninsured – just lying around at his home. Some of them will be returned as they were not his to sell but most can be sold to release assets for his creditors. It was a seriously unusual find.”

Top tips

1) Do your research - Find out company

information like who the directors are and how good they are at payments before entering into business. Company information is available from Companies House, credit reference agencies and from the media.

2) Take early action - If you’re concerned about a business that owes you money then act sooner rather than later as the longer you wait, the more the assets could dwindle away. 3) Do be patient - It can take weeks, months or even years (in the most complex cases) to sell assets and return money to creditors. 4) Consider insuring your debts – you have

to do this before an insolvency event, it is not free and you pay a premium for the policy but it means the debts are protected.

5) Consider factoring your debts – i.e. selling your invoices to a third party. Again, this is not free because you lose some of the value but you get the money back sooner and don’t have the hassle of chasing down the debtor yourself. 6) Retention of title (ROT) clause – This means you retain ownership of the goods in a sale if you don’t receive payment for them. But these clauses are not always easy to establish.

ISSUE 53 --- 29

Locate your business in the heart of the UK … Silicon Spa Warwickshire, with its central Warwickshire is a hotbed for IT industry location, competitive rents, talent. Silicon Spa covers an area in and around talented workforce and Royal Leamington Spa where there is a high of software and gaming companies, dynamic business environment concentration including IBM, Blitz Studios and Kwalee. These companies appreciate the unique local skills base, means you’ll be in good good location and pleasant living environment. company. The Chiltern and east coast lines link the county Birch Coppice to London in just an hour, and The 400 acre Birch Coppice Business Park at Atherstone offers a range of high-quality design the M1, M6, M40, M42, M45 and build opportunities, supported by direct access to the M42 at junction 10 and rail freight and M69 all pass through the hub. Businesses already here include UPS and Ocado’s forthcoming Customer Fulfilment county.

Centre. BMW’s global manufacturing facility for 4 cylinder engines is close by in Coleshill.

A Strong Local Economy Warwickshire is a dynamic, modern county with an enviable road and rail infrastructure set in beautiful urban and rural landscapes. Employers appreciate rents lower than comparable areas in the south east and comment on the quality of the local staff they employ. Globally competitive Warwick and Coventry Universities are close by and Warwickshire is the chosen base for a wide range of companies including Jaguar Land Rover, Wolseley PLC, Calor Gas Ltd, Codemasters and TNT Express Ltd.

MIRA Technology Park MIRA Technology Park is a 1.75 million sq. ft. technology park development in Nuneaton granted Enterprise Zone status in August last year. It will help cement Warwickshire’s position as a key location for advanced engineering, low carbon technologies and intelligent transport systems. MIRA Technology Park has already attracted a number of high profile international businesses. Bosch Engineering, Lockheed Martin, Ashok Leyland, Norgren and Triumph Motorcycles have all taken secure facilities on the 830 acre site.

Headline Rental Values for Office and Industrial Accommodation Location


Industrial (Small)

Industrial (large)

(London) West End




(London) City




























*Data courtesy of VOA Survey 2011 except Warwickshire data from WIPs 2011 Newly refurbished £112.8m RSC Theatre in Stratford

Artist’s impression of the 1.75m sqft MIRA Technology Park

Ansty At junction 2 of the M6 in Rugby, Ansty is home to the new manufacturing technology centre which encourages active partnership between universities and major UK manufacturers. Partners include Rolls Royce PLC and GE Power Conversions. These are just some of the exciting opportunities in Warwickshire. For more information visit our website or call us on 01926 41 2140 to learn more.

Business Centres There are small and medium sized office and light industrial units on short licence available at various locations across Warwickshire.

Potential Cost Savings Warwickshire can offer your business lower labour and property costs, as these tables illustrate.

Price level relative to the national price level (UK=100) Region

Price Level

London South East East West Midlands (including Warwickshire)

107.9 102.3 101.2 100.6

*Source: NAO 2010

Our Relocation Team Warwickshire Investment Partnership are here to provide you with a co-ordinated and tailored relocation support and advice service. If you need help with your plans for moving your business to Warwickshire or would like to explore some options further, please call us on 01926 41 2140 or email

Welcome to the January/February edition of Regenerate the Midlands… We begin this issue by looking at how the City of Stoke-on-Trent and the county of Staffordshire are rolling out the red carpet to encourage investment into the area. Their aim is to create 50,000 jobs and increase the size of the local economy by 50% over the next 10 years, achieved through a partnership of businesses, local authorities, universities and community bodies.

Regenerate The Midlands


Continuing on the subject of economic growth, Warwickshire County Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council explain how they have effectively used the planning process to draw down funds for the Birch Coppice Business site, to support the employment and skills agenda in the local area. The partnership explains how the development of Birch Coppice has had a major impact on the local community, in particular helping to bring jobs back into an area which was badly affected by the gradual decline of the mining industry. We also have two pages of the latest regeneration news, including the £100K boost to Staffordshire Moorlands High Streets, ATG Theatre Group’s successful bid and Environment Minister David Heath’s visit to Warwickshire.

NEWS Successful Bid for Theatre Group .......... 32 £100K Boost too Staffordshire Moorlands High Streets .............................................. 32 Road Map for M42 Economic Gateway .32 New Homes Rise in Northampton ........ 33 Investment in Rural Economy ................ 33 Stoke-on-Trent Rolls Out Red Carpet Stoke-on-Trent has a vision to make the region the best place to do business in the county, the joint mission aims to create 50,000 jobs and increase the size of the local economy by 50 per cent over the next 10 years..............36 North Warwickshire Works Warwickshire County Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council, working together in partnership, have effectively used the planning process to draw down funds to support the employment and skills agenda in the local area....................................................40

ISSUE 53 --- 31


SUCCESSFUL BID FOR THEATRE GROUP Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) has successfully bid to continue operating the Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent for the next ten years following a comprehensive tender process. The contract has been awarded by Stoke-On-Trent City Council. Rosemary Squire, ATG’s Joint CEO, said: “The City Centre is currently undergoing a period of growth and regeneration and we are excited to play a part in its future. ATG remains committed to the people and City of Stoke-on-Trent and it’s our continued aim to bring world class productions to these iconic landmark venues. We also look forward to developing our close working relationship with the City Council over the coming years.”

Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent

Following a feasibility study in the midNineties, ATG successfully bid to operate both Stoke-on-Trent venues. The Victoria Hall reopened in 1998, followed by The Regent Theatre in 1999. Since then, ATG has

£100K BOOST TO STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLAND HIGH STREETS Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is one of a hundred councils in the country to receive a share of a £10 million pot – known as the High Street Innovation Fund. The grant aid has come following recommendations made by retail expert Mary Portas, and is intended to support councils in their efforts to improve the look of their high streets by encouraging new start-ups and bringing empty shops back into use. Now, the council aims to set aside £25,000 for the support and development of markets across the district while dividing the £75,000 balance equally between Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph, via action plans devised in partnership with the town council and chamber of trade in each town. Action for Market Towns (AMT), a national group providing information and advice to small towns and local authorities, will be running the Town Team Initiative workshop, to help towns to consider how best to implement recommendations from the review. Delegates at the workshop will have the benefit of learning from the experience of other small towns which have already set up new markets or improved existing ones, promoted local loyalty, implemented public realm projects to make their towns more accessible and attractive and encouraged new business and retailers to invest. Council leader Sybil Ralphs said: “We look forward to working with town councils, chambers of trade and business groups on ways of investing this cash to stimulate enterprise and fill our remaining vacant shops.” The council will invite proposals from all three market towns on how they might use the funds. Officers will devise guidance, stressing that projects must stimulate footfall, support enterprise development, support event development and/or promote the town.

32 --- ISSUE 53

invested more than £3 million in the venues with visitors spending in excess of £3.8 million each year in the City Centre. ATG also provides employment for more than 100 full-time and part-time members of staff across the two venues. The company has engaged with schools, businesses and local communities and tens of thousands of people have been touched by the work of the Creative Learning department. Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “ATG has a strong track record of bringing high quality productions to Stoke-on-Trent, boosting footfall in the city centre and supporting the local economy. “As part of our Mandate for Change, we are committed to making our city grow, and we want to ensure that we have a thriving city centre offer, both in the day time and at night. We expect that the new contract will mean that the highest quality productions continue to be brought to the city, and that it will continue to help the city centre thrive to the benefit of visitors and wider city centre businesses.”

ROAD MAP FOR M42 ECONOMIC GATEWAY Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has confirmed the appointment of a consortium, led by Arup, to develop a Prospectus for the ‘M42 Economic Gateway’. The Gateway is a unique concentration of economic assets and growth drivers of national and regional significance: Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre, Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham Business Park, the Blythe Valley Regional Investment sites and Solihull Town Centre. Driving economic growth in Solihull and the wider region – it is already estimated to support over 100,000 jobs and £5.1bn income – realising its future potential is critical to the future success and prosperity not just of Solihull but of the West Midlands as whole. It could create 63,000 new jobs in Solihull and many

more in the wider region. The Prospectus will provide a clear road map setting out how the Council and its partners will respond to both the pressures and opportunities for growth in a managed way, complementing the Birmingham Big City plan, and driving economic recovery in the West Midlands. Councillor Ken Meeson, Leader of Solihull Council said: “The M42 Economic Gateway project brings tremendous economic opportunities for the Borough. The Council is taking the lead in developing a ‘road map’ to make sure we manage the growth and ensure it brings the right benefits to Solihull and the region, whilst respecting Solihull’s unique character.” For additional information on the M42 Economic Gateway, go to www.solihullforsuccess. com/business/m42-economicgateway


Booth Rise Contract Signing

Loughborough-based contractor and developer, William Davis Ltd will commence work on the £11.2m Booth Rise scheme this month, marking a milestone both for the company and Northampton. Booth Rise has been secured through the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) Delivery Partner Panel and is the first of its kind in Northampton. “Securing this scheme as part of the HCA’s Delivery Partner Panel represents a landmark for our partnerships division and we are proud our expertise in this sector has been recognised,” said Richard Cornes, partnerships director at William Davis. “Booth Rise will help alleviate Northampton’s current shortage of affordable housing by providing quality homes and a modern, sustainable environment for local families. We look forward to commencing the build programme.”

NEW HOMES RISE IN NORTHAMPTON With the building of new homes outlined as a top priority in the housing minister Mark Prisk’s brief, the announcement that contracts have been signed on a major affordable housing scheme on the edge of Northampton means the town will soon benefit from over 100 houses and apartments.

William Davis is working in partnership with affordable housing provider, Orbit Homes, Northampton Borough Council and the HCA to deliver the 111 residential properties at Booth Rise. Unusually for a project of this type, half the new homes will be available for affordable rent with the other half for shared ownership. Chris Jones, development director Midlands, Orbit Homes commented: “Demand for affordable homes in Northampton, as in many areas of the country, currently outstrips supply. The Booth Rise development will go some way towards addressing the shortage of affordable homes and we are incredibly pleased that we will be providing quality new homes for more than 100 local families.”

RGN Ministerial Visitors

The centrepiece of the Network will be a Rural Technology and Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park. There will also be a further two enterprise hubs operating in the north and south of the county. The county council has been busy finalising plans with other partners to ensure the Rural Growth Network is up and running by January 1st 2013, with the Rural Technology and Innovation Centre set to open its doors next April. In addition to the investment to new premises, the RGN will offer specialist advice to rural businesses, business-to-business networking opportunities, access to finance, and activities to promote the take-up of new technologies. The initiative is also set to attract further EU and private sector funding with total investment worth up to £4.25m. Councillor Alan Cockburn, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Communities and LEP board member, said: “The government funding will boost the rural economy in this area and act as a catalyst to enable businesses to grow and unlock further investment. “The Network will enhance our rural infrastructure and will be very much at the heart of the work of our Going for Growth strategy. We are already building many proactive relationships with businesses in Warwickshire and are working to help them to overcome barriers to growth and thrive in the long term.”

INVESTMENT IN RURAL ECONOMY Environment Minister David Heath has announced 500 jobs and 120 start-up businesses in Rural Warwickshire during a visit to Stoneleigh. Warwickshire is one of just five regions selected to deliver a Rural Growth Network (RGN), and will benefit from a £2.4 million investment following a bid from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Businesses will have access to specialist support on topics including business planning, management and leadership and use of carbonefficient technologies. Tailored support will also be offered to female entrepreneurs. The government funding is expected to boost the local rural economy by £50 million by providing the infrastructure and opportunities that rural businesses need to grow. Environment Minister, David Heath said: “We believe that rural businesses can make a huge contribution to economic growth – as long as government ensures they have the infrastructure and opportunities they need to do so. On the back of our investment in new work premises and training opportunities, we expect to boost the rural economy by a massive £50 million creating over 500 jobs and 120 new businesses.”

ISSUE 53 --- 33

Photo - left to right, district council leader Mr Roger Blaney, the chairman of Boyes, Mr Andrew Boyes, the chairman of Newark Business Club, Mr James Fountain, district council chief executive Mr Andrew Muter, Mr Martin Isaac, of Home Inspirations, and the general manager of Boyes Newark, Mr Robert Van Der Heijden

"At the heart of England, where major road and rail networks converge" Invest Newark & Sherwood offers a free and confidential service to businesses interested in moving into the area and to existing businesses looking to expand. This gives potential investors direct access to local authorities as well as the local business community, and provides a one-stop solution and introduction service taking the pain out of having to contact many different agencies. Newark & Sherwood is perfectly positioned at the convergence of major road and rail routes - and offers easy access to airports and east coast ports - making it an ideal location for investment. Nestled in the centre of the country, 70% of the UK population is within a three hours’ drive, giving easy access to customers and suppliers via the A1 (north and south) as well as quick access for freight to east coast ports including Immingham, Grimsby and Hull. The recently-dualled A46 also gives fast access to Nottingham, Lincoln and Leicester, and then on to M1 and M6, making connectivity a major plus point for the district. There are also six international airports within a two hour drive (East Midlands, Doncaster Robin Hood, Birmingham, Manchester Leeds-Bradford and London-Luton) The icing on the ‘connectivity’ cake is the north-south high-speed service offered by East Coast Mainline, with major routes servicing Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Newark and London. Train journeys from London take as little as 73 minutes. The Newark & Sherwood district has been recognised as a Growth Point by Government. The planning authority is committed to employment and housing growth to 2020, with 200 acres of designated development land. We have readily available commercial property at competitive rates, with our commercial space growth rates higher than the national average.

Invest Newark & Sherwood has also recently launched Think BIG – the Business Investment for Growth fund - which helps to raise working capital to finance business growth. Think BIG provides loans to existing businesses that don’t meet the banks’ lending criteria but are able to demonstrate that they have a viable proposition for growth. Loans range from around £25k to £150k and are available to existing small and medium-sized businesses in Newark & Sherwood with the ambition and potential to grow. As a guideline, those supported would ideally have over five employees and a turnover of over £500k. Newark & Sherwood District Council have created this £2million fund to encourage business growth within the district, and the fund is being managed by a team of professional risk finance specialists on the Council’s behalf. The loan fund is part of wider plan to stimulate economic growth in all business sectors and in particular those where there is existing strength and future potential, including engineering, information & communications technologies, logistics, food processing, and low carbon technologies. Other services offered by Invest Newark & Sherwood include a commercial property search facility, support with recruitment, training and apprenticeships, and general help and advice to businesses wishing to grow and expand and potential investors. Invest Newark & Sherwood is working closely with partners and has recently installed 22 window vinyls onto blacked-out windows down the sides of Boyes store on Balderton Gate and Barnby Gate in Newark. A letter from local retailers had been sent to Boyes complaining that the blacked out windows were unattractive and created problems with footfall on these streets. This came to the attention of Cllr Roger Blaney, the leader of the Council, and after discussions with Andrew Boyes, chairman of Boyes stores, it was decided to install the vinyl’s to improve the appearance. The vinyl’s feature local businesses and promote the new Invest Newark & Sherwood to engage the local community on what is happening in the district, so is a win-win situation for all. For further information on Invest Newark & Sherwood or the Think BIG investment fund please visit


rolls out the red carpet

Unitied team attracting investment in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership has a vision to make the region the best place to do business in the country by rolling out the red carpet for investors. The joint mission aims to create 50,000 jobs and increase the size of the local economy by 50% over the next 10 years. Launched in 2010, the LEP is a powerful partnership of businesses, local authorities, universities and community bodies, all united by a common goal - to generate sustainable economic growth and create the right conditions for the private sector to thrive. This focus on economic regeneration is proving to be a trailblazer, bringing clear mutual benefits and gains for all involved. Key to the partnership’s role is its ability to effectively lobby Government and other organisations to secure funding and improve access to finance for businesses in the region. In 2011/12 the LEP helped four manufacturing industries in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire bid for the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The successful companies, Goodwin PLC in Trentham, Wedgwood in Barlaston, GE Power Conversion of Kidsgrove and the North Staffs Chamber of Commerce are now sharing a pot of £13m for expansion plans. Further Government funding worth £7.4m has been secured to help better connect businesses by improving broadband in the region and around £3m is available under the Growing Places Fund which has been allocated to the LEP to boost the region’s economy in 2013. Projects will be assessed and allocated loan funding specifically targeted to help schemes which have stalled during the economic downturn.

Inward investment The partnership’s joint inward investment service Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire operates across the county, pulling in new companies and helping existing businesses to expand. Using innovative ways of marketing and rolling out

36 --- ISSUE 53

CGI plans for the Central Business District in the city centre

the prestigious red carpet service, the team targets growth sectors and builds on the region’s key assets.

“Our priority is to ensure we offer a red carpet approach to investors and provide the right environment for business.” Chairman Ron Dougan said: “The LEP has been recognised as a national leader following the achievements and ambitious plans for the future. “There have been significant inward investment successes recently and we are working hard to build on these, further improving our standing as the place to do business. “Our priority is to ensure we offer a red carpet approach to investors and provide the right environment for business. The message is that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is a region open for business, and the inward investment team’s approach is reaping rewards. The approach focuses on direct contact with target companies in

growth sectors. The free and confidential service for new investors includes helping to identify the right property or land, assistance with industry research, support in relation to skills and recruitment and guidance on financial assistance. The inward investment team has grown since its formation three years ago, demonstrating the partner authorities’ commitment to creating growth and prosperity. Recent high profile additions include Emma Johnson, a senior investment manager and fluent Japanese speaker, and Chris Kirkland, a senior investment manager who helped to secure more than £570 million of contracts for companies in the West Midlands from the Olympic Games during a secondment to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Approach Working as a focused team of investment managers, the Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire inward investment team’s proactive approach places equal emphasis on maximising growth opportunities and targeting new investors.

The foundation of building relationships through direct contact is bringing success in both fields and this approach has been recognised as the best in the country with the fDi magazine, a supplement to the Financial Times, placing the LEP in the top three nationally for its innovative drive to attract business investment. With offices in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire the team can arrange location tours, help to unlock funding streams and access to planning assistance. This red carpet approach for businesses provides a single point of contact, individual case officers and a streamlined process for business development, inward investment, planning and funding. This process means any business will get its needs dealt with in the fastest and most effective manner. 2013 marks an exciting stage for the team. A period of intensive lead generation has begun, promoting a number of landmark developments in the area including the six-phase Central Business District and £350 million City Sentral retail and leisure complex, both under construction in Stoke-on-Trent. As well as key development sites at Keele University and sites adjacent to i54 South Staffordshire. These developments are part of wider regeneration in the city centre, transforming the public realm and enhancing the profile of the city under the council’s Mandate for Change agenda. It boldly sets out to transform Stoke-on-Trent into a great working city. Both of these schemes will encourage the quality and breadth of retail and employment offer, acting as a catalyst, benefitting the whole city. Creating employment and growth in this tough economic

Mark Meredith

climate is no mean feat, but the inward investment service is building on a foundation of success. In 2011, more than 2,000 new jobs were created. This target-beating figure of employment generation in the region reflects the aspiration and desire to secure more than the fair share of opportunities. Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “Our priority in this tough economic climate is to create jobs and prosperity for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. “This region is open for business and by focusing on growth sectors and rolling out the red carpet service; the investment team are making sure they grab the right sort of attention. Their strategy focuses on direct contact, nurturing relationships with intermediaries and investment planning, and this is paying off. “Thanks to a central geographic location and excellent connectivity, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is extremely well placed for investors. Proximity to the M6 and M1 makes most of the UK’s cities accessible within a four hour drive. Sites and premises in the region have been developed close to these key connections to make the most of the enviable location.”

Successes World-class companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Steelite, Amazon, Michelin, Alstom and Pirelli already call Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire home. The technology powerhouse i54 in South Staffordshire is one of the region’s most high-profile recent success stories. It is the best example of partnership delivering results for all involved, the public sector with the likes of

Philip Atkins

Jaguar Land Rover, commercial aircraft manufacturer Moog and Eurofins, a leading scientific testing and analysis company to create a 220 acre flagship business park. It was selected by Jaguar Land Rover as its base for a new advanced engine plant, which saw the company investing £355 million and creating 750 jobs on site. Partnership working like this maximises potential, unites resources and delivers results for all involved. Delivering growth needed to rebalance the local economy involves recognising the business heritage of the area’s past which includes ceramics, manufacturing and automotives. By developing these and building on new areas of growth such as medical and healthcare technologies, professional services, logistics and distribution, the drive to attract investment is focused and targeted on key sectors. The region is at the forefront of the UK’s machinery manufacturing sector which provides employment for more than 6,000 people, more than double the national proportion. The importance of this sector can be appreciated when considering the area is home to the global headquarters of JCB, the world’s third largest manufacturer of construction equipment. As well as HQ functions, the JCB sites in Staffordshire include advanced manufacturing facilities and plants, R&D and testing and a heavy products factory which has the capability to produce 8,000 machines a year. Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent area is known as a prime location for businesses and strengthening local decision-making will enable us to do even more. We have worked hard to ensure our thriving businesses can

continue to expand and grow so we can continue to attract other companies to our area. “In 2012 our area was placed in the top three in the country for attracting inward investment in an independent report. “The Make It Stoke-on Trent and Staffordshire inward investment team has come out of the starting blocks at pace and continues to build on our significant achievements.

“In 2012 our area was placed in the top three in the country for attracting inward investment in an independent report.” “Staffordshire County Council’s top priority is to improve our economy and opportunities for residents. We are proud of our work with colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent City Council and our business colleagues the Local Enterprise Partnership in making this happen.” As proposals put forward by Lord Heseltine recommend strengthening local enterprise partnerships, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP has placed itself at the forefront, leading the way in job creation and investment. Local business leaders and authority partners know the attributes and strengths of the area and how businesses can best move forward based on their experience and knowledge. They are best placed to enhance the growing reputation and unlock the potential of the private sector to create employment and wealth by growing, restructuring and sustaining the local economy. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is developing as the place to do business and creating the right environment in which businesses can invest and grow is central to the success of the partnership.


ISSUE 53 --- 37

Need more space for your growing business? Look at Fenton To Let Fenton Industrial Estate Reads Road, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2RL Last 2 units available – circa 750 sq ft For more information please visit: fentonindustrialestate

For enquiries contact:

In association with:

01925 273000

High Carr Networkcentre

Competitive rents Flexible terms available Internal repairing lease

Workspace units from 1,300 - 2,600 sq ft

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3

£2 psf £3 psf £4 psf

(T&Cs ap




Competitive rents Flexible terms available Internal repairing lease

High Carr Business Park, Talke Road





or th smilin

High Carr Business Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5Talke 7XE Road Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 7XE highcarrnetworkcentre highcarrnetworkcentre

b a g

Brought to you by:

01744 832300

For enquiries contact:

FLAG Midlands Business advert V2



Page 1

Best prices Best practice Best you call us now For well over a decade, local and national fleets have trusted us with their vehicle remarketing needs. Our unique trade only remarketing facility ensures the highest market returns for your vehicles coupled with best practice procedures, so you can be sure you’ve got every box ticked. Cars, LCVs, HGVs & Plant - we remarket them all from our 12 acre purpose built facility just off the M1. See what the Fleet Auction Group can do for you; Call Guy Pearce today on 01530 833535.

ISO 9001:2008

ISO 14001:2004









Brindley Road, Stephenson Industrial Estate, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 3HG T: 01530 833535 F: 01530 813425 Leicestershire LE67 3HG T: 01530 833535 F: 01530 813425 email: email:

PHS Direct editorial PHS Direct is a national supplier of all types of workplace consumables. Although based locally for over 15 years its operational headquarters has been at Birch Coppice Business Park since 2006. It employs around 100 people here, either in the large, bespoke and well-appointed warehouse, or in a range of office-based functions such as telesales, customer service and credit control. The business supplies a wide range of workplace consumables to businesses in all sectors, and distributes across the UK from Birch Coppice. The management team are experienced professionals who have worked in the industry for many years, and this knowledge and experience is what the success of the business is founded upon. Since 2010 PHS Direct has been supporting The National Forest in their aim of transforming 200 square miles of central England. From contributions made from every box of paper sold PHS Direct are creating a woodland near Overseal, with more than 20,000 trees, covering over 24 acres of land, that will be able to be enjoyed by the community for many generations to come. PHS Direct’s support of The National Forest is hugely important to the way they do business, and has engaged staff, customers and suppliers alike in a tangible way. It is not merely an exercise in ‘greenwash’ but a fundamental part of the ethical approach to business on which PHS Direct prides itself.

the West Midlands and future growth plans. Also highlighted was the success of the Birch Coppice Business Park, which has created in excess of 5,000 jobs for local people, to date.


Warwickshire County Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council, working together in partnership, have effectively used the planning process to draw down funds to support the employment and skills agenda in the local area. Birch Coppice Business Site, a 400 acre ex colliery, is located near Dordon, just off the A5, and is home to a number of logistic companies. Birch Coppice colliery for many years (1824 – 1987) provided employment for the local community, up to 1000 people at its peak, producing over 60 million tonnes of coal before it finally closed its doors in 1987. In 1997 the land was acquired by Warwick-based property developer-investor IM Properties plc. The company has over the years been gradually transforming the site and in 2000 IM Properties commenced the reinstatement of Kingsbury rail link including 5 miles of railway line and sidings.

Award winning The Warwickshire-based property developer has this year been crowned ‘Company of the Year’ at the prestigious Birmingham Post Business Awards. The company scooped the top prize at the ceremony and also the Property and Regeneration category. IM Properties’ entry detailed its ability to drive income through development, investment and asset management as well as outlining its successful 2011 performance, commitment to

40 --- ISSUE 53

Tim Wooldridge, Managing Director of IM Properties, said: “These awards are testament to the expertise of the whole IM team who work so hard to ensure we deliver consistently good results even in such challenging times. “A big thank you goes to both our professional team and North Warwickshire Borough Council for their support on Birch Coppice Business Park, transforming it into one of the region’s biggest employment success stories.” For more information about the Birch Coppice Business Site, visit

Community impact The development of Birch Coppice has also had a major impact on the local community, in particular helping to bring jobs back into the area which was badly affected by the gradual decline of the mining industry. But its development has also had a negative impact specifically in terms of how it looks visually and the increase in traffic on the local road networks. Therefore it was decided that if it was going to go ahead the community should be compensated in some way. In line with the Borough’s Sustainable Community Strategy, which identifies

‘raising aspirations, educational attainment and skills’ as one of its priorities, a section 106 agreement was negotiated with the developers to draw down funds which would engage, enable and support local people into employment at the site. It was agreed that the funds would give local residents every opportunity to access the new job opportunities being created at the site, with a focus on engaging, up-skilling and promoting the opportunities particularly to disadvantaged groups. To aid delivery a partnership, North Warwickshire Works, has been established in order to provide a strategic overview of North Warwickshire and issues relating to employment, worklessness, skills and training and provide advice and guidance on gaps in provision and current service provision in the area which could assist in the delivery of the project North Warwickshire Works (NWW) is a public, private, community and third sector partnership to support training, skills and employability measures for the residents of North Warwickshire borough. With this knowledge the Partners have been able to commission a number of projects which would deliver the desired outcome – local jobs for local people. Details on some of the projects can be read about within the inserts, with the success of them demonstrated via the case

Business growth Leading online food retailer Ocado is one of the most recent occupants of the site, with the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art Customer Fulfilment Centre which will aid their ability to grow as a business and extend their reach across the country. The centre is due to open early 2013 so NWW are working closely with them to ensure the recruitment process and job opportunities are open to local people. Low level recruitment has taken place already and with the help of Jobcentre Plus, Atherstone local people are already benefiting from their presence in the area. Jobcentre Plus has been instrumental in linking those who are currently unemployed with Ocado as they begin their recruitment. They have helped with initial screening, facilitating the testing and interview process and proving the local knowledge with regards to pay rates, supply and demand, and who they have on their books looking for work. Liam O’Mahony, Senior Operations Manager at Ocado, said: “We are proud of the team that we are creating at our new CFC in Dordon and we want to attract the right people that share our passion for outstanding service. We are committed to creating employment for local people and are already forging strong links with the local council, community and Job Centre Plus in Atherstone to support this.” North Warwickshire Works is still delivering but to date it has demonstrated that an effective planning agreement can help regenerate an area which has suffered from high unemployment and where the community have low educational attainment and a lack of aspirations. It is taking positive steps aimed at helping the unemployed and underemployed, which will hopefully lead to a more healthy and happy community.

Raising aspirations and employability

employers to help make links between the skills employers are looking for and the young person. It will provide students with their own personal web space to describe achievements in their own words, attaching photographs, testimonials, certificates or any other form of supporting evidence. The skills and attributes they log can then be matched against what the local employer is looking for therefore showing them that they do have the skills employers are looking for and where they could do more to grow them. Over time, they develop a personal profile, which students can then use to include in a CV or even a job application form. For more information about BrightSparks, go to

Birch Coppice employment support scheme Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency (CDA) will support local people to explore career choices, prepare CVs, search online for jobs, complete applications and improve their interview technique. CDA also offers training in confidence building, warehouse awareness, health and safety in the warehouse environment, basic IT skills and travel planning – all of which will assist the individual to access the new jobs which are coming on-line over the coming months. Advisers are working out of local venues in the area and liaising with the Employers to ensure they have the most up to date information on what skills and attributes they are looking for, what jobs they have coming up and how people can apply for them. CDA are also arranging visits for people to work places, if appropriate, so that those who have not been in work for a while can see what it is like and start to understand what employers are looking for when recruiting.



Mr Aucott had very little experience with using a computer; he was having difficulties using one which was presenting problems as he was unemployed and needed these skills to help with searching and applying for jobs. One major barrier he came across was that he didn’t have an email address and didn’t know how to set one up or use one, which limited him greatly as to what jobs he could apply for as quite a few ask for emailed or on-line applications. With support from the programme Mr Aucott completed an on-line basics course which taught him skills to allow him to use a computer. Mr Aucott said: “The course I did and the support I have received has opened a whole new world to me and I am hoping to get a job soon.”

For more information about the CDA, go to

As a result of an identified need in the area to raise aspirations and employability in young people, a programme, called BrightSparks, is being delivered by Life Beyond School. They are a company who specialise in working with young people and

ISSUE 53 --- 41

All your business needs. All in one place. Being “Open for Business” is Worcestershire County Council’s key aim and they have joined forces with the Chamber of Commerce, the Local Enterprise Partnership, Worcestershire Ambassadors and district councils to really put Worcestershire on the map for business. Supporting the growth of existing businesses, attracting funding into the county along with encouraging start-ups and innovation are all aims of Worcestershire.Business.Central. So why is it that the County Council and its partners think Worcestershire is the place to do business? Great connections: Worcestershire is at the heart of the UK close to the capital and the second city. With good rail and motorway connections and major international airports close by it is a brilliant location for distribution, communication, import and export. Home to great names: Worcestershire has many famous names associated with it. Elgar and Lea&Perrins are just two of those successful names which sit alongside others covering business, sport and culture. Able to offer a great quality of life: Worcestershire has both beautiful rural landscapes and vibrant urban centres which mean it can offer a lifestyle to enhance busy business lives. In a nutshell Worcestershire.Business.Central is about everyone pulling together to ensure the county really is “Open for Business”. A successful business destination built on an ideally situated and well connected central geographical location, a physical environment which appeals to all and entrepreneurial talent which is rooted in international success and grows every day. Recent feedback from business has been that whilst there was a lot of great support they could access they were unsure which organisation they should to go to for what, and as busy people with demanding priorities they may be missing out on opportunities due to the multiple access points. After listening to this feedback a new website has been launched which provides a single place for businesses to find support and opportunities whether they are currently based in the county, thinking of relocating or interested in working closer with local providers. Whatever the business need have a look at as there is sure to be something there to help. The website is only the start- whether it is at events, on flyers, social media sites or funding opportunities wherever you see Worcestershire.Businesss.Central you will know business success is not far behind!

Great businesses Great quality of life

Great connections

Great names

0300 123 14 40


Public Relations

Purple Sprout is a communications agency with already well rooted contacts and excellent industry experience. Our ethos is simple, to allow you one source of contact for all of your communication and marketing needs, which in turn will help you to grow... Public relations is aimed at promoting your business products and services across a variety of media forms including national and regional press, magazine’s, TV, radio and advertising campaigns with a view to reach target audiences; increasing sales and brand awareness. Without a sustained PR strategy which is uniquely tailored to your business, you will struggle to expand your services and raise your profile. Our highly experienced communications team has worked within the media as publishers, journalists and designers therefore, have the knowledge, contacts and capability to reach press contacts and make your campaign stand out against the masses. PURPLE SPROUT, PLANTING THE SEEDS TO HELP YOUR BUSINESS TO GROW… Tel: 01782 658524 e-mail:

Are you having difficulty getting hold of sufficient finance to grow your business?

BCRS’s sole purpose is to provide access to finance to enable businesses to grow and prosper

We could help you too!

Call us today on 0845 313 8410 Or visit Black Country Reinvestment Society, Wolverhampton Science Park, Wolverhampton WV10 9RU E:

i54 Full page advert_Layout 1 26/11/2012 13:22 Page 1


For Sale or To Let

Wes t Midlands







Purpose Built Buildings/Land




Up to 10,000 sq m (107,640 sq ft)






Up to 9,000 sq m (96,875 sq ft)

TRAINING/INNOVATION Up to 4,000 sq m (43,050 sq ft)

Up to 7,000 sq m (75,350 sq ft)

Up to 11,000 sq m (118,405 sq ft)




Up to 22,000 sq m (236,805 sq ft)

M54 Junction 2 M54 Extension Under Construction


Wobaston Road





For further information contact:

Noel Muscutt

+44(0)1902 778588

Rod Spiby

+44(0)1902 778585

LEGAL Employers carry a financial and moral burden. If full pay is continued for a time after an employee goes on sick leave, it is often a difficult decision to curtail that arrangement, particularly when the employee is known to be depressed or anxious about money worries. Another cost is the hiring of temps to cover sick leave. If the funds are not there it is common for work colleagues to be asked to take on the additional burden of covering for their fellow worker and this can in turn cause colleagues to be stressed or unhappy about their workload. There is also an issue of trust. Employees on long term sick leave may neglect to apply for holiday leave if they are taking holidays whilst off sick, perhaps taking the view that a trip abroad is therapy for their illness and not really holiday.

THE HIDDEN COST of sick leave WRITER Madeleine Thomson Head of Employment Law Hamlins LLP Although the holiday season has ended the holiday pain has not for those employing individuals on long term sick leave. Thanks to European law, employees in the United Kingdom can now save their holiday leave entitlement, accruing to them whilst on sick leave, and take it when they are well enough to return to work. They can also claim to carry over this holiday leave to the following holiday year for a reasonable time – thought to be about three months. And if their employment terminates during sick leave, they will be entitled to payment in lieu of holiday. So, if an employee has been on sick leave for a year and has a holiday allowance of six weeks per year, when they return to work the following year, they may be entitled to 12 weeks holiday leave. One of the major causes of sick leave is stress. Stress triggers are on the rise and just reading the news can be stressful at a time when few have confidence in their job security. Money troubles at home place domestic relationships under pressure. Anxiety and tensions heightened outside of work can affect the ability to concentrate and cope with the normal demands of the workplace. Once an individual is diagnosed with depression the employer is legally obliged, both under employment and health and safety law, to take steps to reduce normal work pressures and to offer support.

Where the illness qualifies as a ‘disability’ under the Equality Act 2010, the employer is normally obliged to obtain a medical opinion from an advisor to identify what reasonable adjustments the employer should consider making, to support that person so that they can continue or return to work. For many employers this will mean referring the employee to an independent occupational health specialist at a cost of around £500. This can be problematic as the specialist is unlikely to meet with the employer but will meet with the employee. This means it is not uncommon for the specialist to hear, and be persuaded by, the employee’s perspective on their health and ability to work, without properly understanding the employer’s. Employers should make it a priority to communicate with the specialist, in advance of the patient review, to ensure that the specialist has a clear understanding of the requirements of the employee’s role, the nature of the work environment and the constraints upon the employer to modify these features. The UK government is concerned about the way in which the European Court of Justice has interpreted the holiday entitlement of those on sick leave, and there is a conflict between the Working Time Directive and the UK’s Working Time Regulations. This is currently under review. Most employers though will wish to avoid legal disputes with employees about the interpretation of the conflict between UK and European law. Instead it is more pragmatic to communicate clearly with employees about the economic pressures that the employer is experiencing, what the employer can and cannot afford to do if an employee goes on sick leave and to maintain a regular and candid dialogue with the employee during sick leave. This must be done whilst ensuring that employment contracts and policies are able to withstand the current vagaries of European law and enable the employer to make decisions that are fair both to the employee and the stability of the employer’s business.


and conditions

The current economic troubles mean employers should be looking to make their contractual terms and employment policies as recession-proof as possible. Policies that may have been sustainable in boom times may be impracticable now. • Does the sick pay policy set out how any discretion is exercised and, once exercised, the circumstances in which the discretion to pay sick pay will be reviewed and stopped and on what notice to the employee? •

Does the employer restrict the ability to carry over holiday from one year to the other and, for those on sick leave; is the ability to carry over restricted to the minimum holiday allowance permitted under statute, rather than any enhanced holiday allowance under the contract?

If the employer operates a bonus scheme, is the entitlement to bonus moderated if the employee is on sick leave for a lengthy period of time?

Are employers engaging in home visits? These are valuable to monitor the progress of the employee and to signal to the employee that they are of value so that a relationship of trust is maintained, conducive to honest discussions about the employee’s recovery and the likelihood of returning to work within a reasonable time.

Madeleine Thomson is Head of the Employment Law Department and acts predominantly for employers. Her clients span a wide range of sectors including construction, manufacturing, retail, insurance, travel, education and professional services. For more information, go to

ISSUE 53 --- 45

LEGAL people who may be affected by work activities. However, meeting health and safety obligations doesn’t need to be time consuming, complicated or overwhelming; the principle is simple; ensure you manage the real risks in your workplace– no more, no less. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is working to make health and safety simpler and clearer to understand and comply with through revised guidance and helpful tools – all available through HSE’s website.

Health and Safety Made Simple

BETTER TO BE safe than sorry

WRITER By Rosi Edwards and John Cavanagh

Health and safety and first aid may not be a top priority for SMEs, but this could be a costly mistake. We seek advice from the Health and Safety Executive and St John Ambulance, to help businesses understand the legal requirements for H&S, and how knowledge of first aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

By Rosi Edwards, Midlands Regional Director for the Health and Safety Executive

46 --- ISSUE 53

There is one commodity that every business is short of – time. Whether it is dealing with customer requests or sorting out problems with suppliers, it can seem like there are never enough hours in the day. It is particularly true of small, low-risk businesses where hardworking owners often have to pick up many of the tasks themselves, including ensuring that the business complies with the law. It can be daunting. Yes – all businesses, whatever their size, have to take measures to protect their workers and

Health and Safety Made Simple acts as an entry point for employers of small low-risk businesses that need to know where to start in meeting their health and safety requirements. It is a step-by-step guide that directs users to guidance on particular topics such as what injuries and incidents to report and has useful tools such as template risk assessments. Linking to Health and Safety Made Simple, and building on it, is the newly launched Health and Safety Toolbox. It gives guidance on specific issues in the workplace and provides sections on the most common risks such as manual handling, trip hazards and harmful substances. Both these resources can be accessed by following the prompts on the right hand side of the homepage of HSE’s website, Health and Safety Made Simple and Toolbox should arm small, low-risk businesses with the knowledge to fulfil their health and safety responsibilities with confidence, without feeling the need to bring in consultants– saving time and money. However, if businesses feel they need extra help the Occupational Health & Safety Consultants Register (OSHCR) should point them in the direction of local consultants who have met certain standards of the participating professional bodies in the scheme. The register was established due to concern that there were some companies who overcomplicate health and safety, miss important hazards or contribute to misunderstanding about what is really needed to protect people at work. More information can be found at HSE is also looking to combat popular myths

through its clearer, simpler guidance.

How to save time and money… Office-based businesses alone could be wasting an estimated £30 million a year on unnecessary electrical safety tests. It is a myth that every portable electrical appliance in the workplace needs to be tested once a year. Misleading advice and advertising, often by a company who offer the testing, is contributing to this over-spend. HSE has issued revised guidance on Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) to ensure businesses understand what they have to do. The law simply requires an employer to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger – it does not state that every item has to be tested or how often testing needs to be carried out. In a low-risk environment most dangerous defects can be found simply by checking the appliances for obvious signs of damage such as frayed cables. For more information visit uk/electricity/faq-portableappliance-testing.htm Reporting workplace injuries and certain incidents is something businesses are legally obliged to do, but in a bid to make things simpler for businesses, since April, employers have no longer had to report injuries that keep workers off normal duties for seven days or fewer. Employers now also have a longer period in which to report, increasing from 10 to 15 days, from the time of the incident. This change aligns reporting with the ‘fit note’ system that ensures someone who is off work with a reportable injury has a professional medical assessment. It is expected that these changes will save British firms thousands of hours in completing official paperwork. For more information on reporting visit riddor/index.htm Employers can get the latest news and events delivered directly to their inbox or mobile through HSE’s e-bulletins and RSS feeds. Visit subscribe/index.htm to sign up to the ones that will be useful for you and your businesses.


FIRST AID IN By John Cavanagh, Regional Director for St John Ambulance commercial training in the Midlands New research by St John Ambulance shows that up to 140,000 people are dying each year in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live. Understanding the risks and obligations regarding first aid in the workplace can often be tricky. Organisations want to do the right thing, but don’t always know how. Sometimes common sense gets lost, and we end up with the stories we see about ‘health and safety gone mad’. In July this year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released the workplace fatality figures, which showed that in the past year there were 173 deaths in the work environment, that is only two less than the previous year. Whilst it is encouraging to see that the numbers of workplace deaths in the UK have not risen, it is a shame to see that the figure has not been reduced to 2009/10 levels – a record low – or further. If employers are to reduce the number of tragic workplace incidents, it is essential that they have good health and safety processes in place including providing basic first aid training to their staff. These essential skills should be taken more seriously as they genuinely can save lives. It is the treatment you get in the first few minutes that can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved and the need for life-saving skills cannot be overstated. If more employees are encouraged to become trained first aiders, companies are not only increasing the level of safety within their workplace but are also building a sense of responsibility and trust among employees, and equipping staff with the necessary skills to save a life. Leicestershire-based construction company, Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK, is a good example of this, with one in six of the company’s staff trained as first aiders. Lichfield-based engineering company Norgren is another example of a company that has a commitment to first aid and acknowledges the importance that it places on the welfare of its people both inside and outside the workplace. The company identifies its first aiders as ‘responsible people’ during site/company

events - such as a training day carried out this summer where 500 staff were trained in basic emergency response first aid. Regulatory changes and staffing pressures can be daunting for businesses and research suggests that businesses are being put off. Many do not fully understand the importance of first aid, with 50% not having a formal process for assessing first aid needs. However, getting this process right and fully operational is key to protecting employees, visitors and customers in the workplace. Over recent months there have been changes to the regulatory thinking surrounding first aid. When the employment minister commissioned Professor Lofstedt in March 2011 to conduct an independent review of the UK’s health and safety regulations, the news was welcomed. A review of all health and safety regulations is no easy feat and it is a careful balance between reducing the regulatory burden whilst maintaining safety standards. So, more than 18 months on, the review is still underway, with leading industry experts working closely with the HSE, the Government and Professor Lofstedt. In June this year, it was advised that when the recommendations are adopted, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will no longer ‘approve’ first aid training organisations, although the HSE will continue to manage the standard for first aid and produce guidance for employers. The aim of this is to give employers greater flexibility, so that they can make the right choices based on the requirements of their workforce. At St John Ambulance we support the HSE’s consultation into first aid regulatory changes and will be working closely with them to provide feedback on first aid best practice.

action to save lives

The importance of life saving first aid skills was brought sharply into focus for Mark Driver, company account manager at Birmingham Optical Group, when he suffered a severe heart attack in June last year. It was thanks to two of his colleagues - Debi Newbold and Tim Garner, both first aiders at work that his life was saved. Debi and Tim provided CPR until the ambulance arrived. Paramedics then used their defibrillator and transferred Mark to hospital ‘If it wasn’t for Debi and Tim there is no way I would be here today,’ Mark said. Staffordshire County Council worker Jane Powell used her first aid skills on holiday in Spain and helped deal with a drowning incident – just weeks after qualifying as a first aider at work. And Dave Kitchen from Belper in Derbyshire saved his partner’s son from choking – the very next day after attending a First Aid at Work requalification course in Matlock in March of last year. Dave works as Operations Manager for Light Source Design Ltd.

The first aider’s environment is always going to change, and as the leading training organisation in the country, St John Ambulance can help businesses understand their obligations and provide the training they need. They should go online to or call us on 0844 324 5535. As a charity with a vision where no-one has to suffer because of a lack of first aid, we would encourage all businesses to get people trained.

ISSUE 53 --- 47

60783 Hive Mid in Business Ad F OL.indd 1

22/11/2012 14:36

‘It was so nice to work with such a flexible venue, nothing was too much trouble.’ Linda McLeod - 3M UK Plc, 2011

First-class offices inCentre the heart of the East Midlands Pera Conference A venue for all occasions

Whether for a meeting of two, a conference for 500, or a small-scale exhibition, the Pera Conference Centre has the perfect space. • Conference hall to seat up to 500 • 13 fully equipped meeting rooms • Double height exhibition spaces • Free high speed wi-fi All inclusive prices start from as little as

£35 plus VAT per person

• Free on-site car parking • Experienced on-site Events Team • Freshly prepared, locally sourced catering • Beautiful grounds for team building or corporate summer events

To organise a viewing or discuss the options available, please contact the Events Team on 01664 501501 Nottingham Road, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE13 0PB

marriot_light_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±"'»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '"€


marriot_light_italic_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" €

marriott_med_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±"'»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" €

Book before 15th January 2013 to hold a meeting or event between 1st January 2013 and 31st March 2013 and save 13% on delegate rates.

marriott_med_italic_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±"'»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" € marriott_bold_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? åç´ƒ©˙ˆ˚¬µ˜øœ®ß†¨¥`¡™£¢§¶•ªº–“‘«…æ÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜،‰Íˇ¨„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±"'»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" €

The Birmingham Marriott offers the perfect environment for successfully hosting meetings and events. The hotel features high-specification meeting

marriott_bold_italic_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? åç´ƒ©˙ˆ˚¬µ˜øœ®ß†¨¥`¡™£¢§¶•ªº–“‘«…æ÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜،‰Íˇ¨„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±"'»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" €

and event facilities that fit your needs and help your delegates perform.

marriot_condensed_light_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" €

Day Delegate Rates from £45 per person Call the hotel on 0121 452 1144 and quote LUCK13 to book.

marriot_condensed_medium_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" €

marriot_condensed_bold_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;’,./ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤≥÷ ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" €


Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.

CONFERENCE & EVENTS then Manchester is perfectly accessible on foot.

Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) Theatre capacity: 300 Banqueting: 250

Manchester conferences


the home of great conferences

For its ease of accessibility, spectacular range of venues, breadth of heritage and things to do in the city centre, Manchester is the ideal place for your conference, meeting or event.

Manchester is a city of firsts – a pioneering and dynamic destination that has always excelled at whatever it puts its mind to. Perhaps most famous for its musical and sporting exports, in particular football, the city’s status as a leading business tourism destination is not too far behind. Getting in and around Manchester Getting to Manchester couldn’t be easier as excellent transport links connect the destination with the UK and the rest of the world. Manchester Airport, only 20 minutes from the city centre is the largest UK regional airport and the busiest outside of London, serving over 200 destinations worldwide directly. You can also get into the city region via one of four main train stations, using rail services such as CrossCountry, First Great

Western, Transpenine Express and Northern Rail. The city is connected to London by regular services with a two hour journey time. Alternatively, National Express offers a frequent bus service in and out of the city. If you choose to drive into Manchester – this can be easily achieved via the M60 ring road – and with over 13,000 city centre spaces, parking will not be a problem. Within the city region itself, Manchester operates a fantastic bus service, including the free ‘hop on, hop off’ Metroshuttle which comprises three routes that loop around the city connecting all the main railway stations, shopping and business districts. Additionally, the Metrolink tram service network in Manchester is one of the UK’s most successful light rail systems. However, if you are remaining within the city centre for the duration of your visit,

Manchester’s Petersfield is known as the ‘conference quarter’ of the city centre – and is populated with over 2500 rooms for overnight delegate, whatever your budget. The Hilton Manchester Deansgate, The Midland Hotel and the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel offer an opulent, high end experience for clients with a luxury budget, whilst Jury’s Inn and Premier Inn offer comfortable, clean rooms at competitive rates. With these rooms in such proximity to Manchester Central and the rest of the city centre on your doorstep, it’s a great business tourism spot.

Situated on the world’s first purpose-built passenger railway and a former Great Western Railway Company warehouse – the MOSI is an exciting and intriguing venue to hold your event. The venue has on-site parking, a city centre location and a range of meeting facilities to suit any group number, and so whatever the nature of the conference, meeting or event, MOSI could be your dream venue.

The Lowry

Theatre capacity: 1730 Banqueting: 260

Manchester Central – known as Manchester’s flagship conference destination – is at the heart of Petersfield, and has recently undergone a £30m refurbishment. The venue boasts a spectrum of flexible halls and suites and free WiFi for delegates and visitors, having previously hosted the Labour Party Annual Conference (2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012) and The Conservative Party conference (2009) amongst others. Cultural and heritage venues… Many of the Manchester’s sites richest in history and culture double-up as unique and distinct conference and events venues – some award-winning. If you are looking for something a little different then these venues may be for you.

The Lowry Theatre is one of Manchester’s biggest cultural assets – housing theatre, ballet, popular music, gallery space and more. Situated in Salford Quays’ regenerated docklands, it is a stunning site with rooms that host from 60 to over 1700. In-house technical support, a short distance from the city centre and a great range of attraction in the Salford Quays area makes The Lowry a prime cultural destination choice for a conference, meeting or event. Other heritage and culture business tourism sites include: The Monastery (theatre: 650 and banqueting: 580), Manchester Cathedral (theatre: 100 and banqueting: 960) and Imperial War Museum North (theatre: 200 and banqueting: 700)

Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

50 --- ISSUE 53

Meetings & Events Situated on the edge of the historic riverside town of Bewdley this popular venue for meetings and events is well situated in a convenient location, with an attractive rural setting offering free parking and free WIFI. This recently refurbished and modernised venue really is a must see.... Whatever your requirement you can be assured of a warm welcome, attentive service and unbeatable value in a spectacular setting. Meeting rooms available to cater for 2-200 delegates. Day Delegate rates from £20.00+VAT per person* 24 Hour Residential rates from £100.00+VAT per person* At the end of a hard days meeting continue networking with clients in our contemporary lounge bar or in Greens Restaurant, alternatively why not de-stress with a game of golf on our Championship Golf Course? *T*&C’s apply

Longbank, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 2QW 01299 405222

COLTON HOUSE A Luxury Guest House Like No Other

Colton House offers a beautiful venue for conferences and business meetings that is located in a quiet and peaceful setting in rural Staffordshire. The venue has easy access to nearby towns and cities, such as Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Lichfield and Rugeley. Ideally situated approx. 40 miles from both Birmingham and East Midlands airports.

• Two conference rooms which can be arranged to suit your requirements • Seating for up to 40 people • Free Wi-Fi throughout the building • Private dining options and buffet facilities • Secure parking • Disabled access and facilities • Catering for special dietary requirements • Full bar • 10 luxury en-suite bedrooms

“I have no hesitation recommending Colton House for conferences and events. The hospitality is overwhelming and the location tranquil and relaxing.” Ken Whittleston, Operations Manager, Coview Solutions

A Gold winner of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and a holder of the new Staffordshire SEQM, Colton House is recognised as an environmentally friendly conference venue.

Web: • Tel: 01889 578 580 • email:

CONFERENCE & EVENTS Sporting venues…

National Football Museum

The Hilton Manchester, Deansgate

A city of sport, known to many as the place football was ‘born’, Manchester is home to some fantastic sports venues such as Manchester Aquatics Centre and the National Cycling Centre. This recognised recently during the London 2012 Olympics – where the city hosted Olympic Football at Old Trafford and also hosted the Australian swimming team and Brazilian Paralympics team.

The Midland Hotel

Maximum theatre: 700 Banqueting: 220 Situated opposite Manchester Central Convention Complex – The Midland Hotel is an ideal venue for small meetings, banqueting and stays when attending large events over at the complex. A historic Edwardian hotel – The Midland also offers conference facilities in the form of 11 versatile meetings and events rooms. The hotel has a total of 321 ensuite and air-conditioned rooms, a large, open lounge bar and two restaurants – including the AA rosette award-winning French restaurant.

Many of Manchester’s worldfamous sporting venues also act as the perfect setting for your meetings and conferences.

National Football Museum Theatre capacity: 300 Banqueting: 240

Since opening in 2012, the National Football Museum has attracted over 150,000 visitors in its first three months. The biggest and best football museum in the world – this is a contemporary, unique venue for your events – and is a must-see for any football fanatics. The venue can host up to 500 delegates and uses a tailored, flexible approach to meet the need of the client. With outstanding food service – with the fantastic Kaleido restaurant located above the museum – in-house AV and lighting equipment rounds off for a professional and effective service.

Other meeting hotel venues include: Park Inn by Radisson Blu, DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Piccadilly (theatre: 170, banqueting: 128 and bedrooms: 285), The Palace Hotel (theatre: 1000, banqueting: 850 and bedrooms: 275), Rocco Forte’s The Lowry Hotel (theatre: 170, banqueting: 300 and bedrooms: 165) and the Malmaison (theatre: 100, banqueting: 88 and bedrooms: 167). What can Visit Manchester do for you?

The Point

Hosting a conference in an unfamiliar destination can be a daunting prospect. But with a team of dedicated conference and meeting professionals full of local knowledge that is second to none, you can be sure that every aspect of your conference is expertly planned and runs smoothly. The team understand what you need to make a good event a great one and what’s more, they do everything for free.

Theatre capacity: 1000 Banqueting: 1000 Lancashire County Cricket Club’s £12m conference and events venue The Point can cater to both large and small events – and its unique and intelligent design includes features that are not often found elsewhere. This includes movable walls, electronic blackout blinds, lift access, wireless broadband and a separate mezzanine. The Point is a stunning new development and is adjacent to Old Trafford Lodge – complete with 68 bedrooms for delegates. Other sporting venues include: Manchester United Football Club (theatre: 1100 and banqueting: 950), Manchester City Football Club (theatre: 1200 and banqueting: 800) and Haydock Park Racecourse (theatre: 450 and banqueting: 450). Hotel venues…

The Mere Golf Resort and Spa Maximum theatre: 700 Banqueting: 550

52 --- ISSUE 53

parking – this is the ultimate business destination for those looking to give their delegates a little R&R whilst on their stay.

The Mere Golf Resort and Spa offers something different for delegates, with five meeting rooms and 81 on-site bedrooms – and facilities that will accommodate all delegate needs from start-to-finish. The Mere is surrounded by a Championship gold course, Cheshire countryside and stunning views across the Mere Lake. If this wasn’t enough – it contains a spa, a 20m indoor swimming pool and a range of specialist suites and meeting rooms. Located just 15 miles from the city centre with available

The team, and the city as a whole, take great pleasure in hosting events. The conference and events specialists work tirelessly with organisers so that they can get under the skin of their event and gain an understanding of your key messages. You’ll be assigned a single point of contact - meaning that a dedicated professional will be with you from your initial enquiry through to post-event evaluation. Why not discover first-hand what Manchester can do for you, call the team on 0161 2384597, or head to to find out how the team can help your event to be a resounding success.



Excellence in the Heart of Stockport The Guildhall is a large, professional conference and meeting venue within a fantastic period building.

01614 806531 Developing Winners A leading provider of Part-Time MBAs for over 25 years, Loughborough University is in the process of launching a new Full-Time MBA and an International Sports Management MBA in 2012/13. Programme Director Stuart West tells us what to expect. --------------Why was London 2012 so successful? Because athletes and organisers alike strove to overcome the barriers they faced, focused each day on applying in detail the latest technical thinking to what they were doing, and combined all this with a will to be the best. Sounds simple, but it’s the fundamentals of being successful in anything – and it’s something that underpins how we train the managers of tomorrow on the Loughborough MBA…

Stockport Masonic Guildhall, 161 - 179 Wellington Road South, Stockport, Cheshire. SK1 3UA.

Midlands businesses continue to nominate delegates onto our 2-3 year Part-Time MBA because we graduate effective managers with the minimum amount of disruption at work. Like on the Full Time MBA – and, particularly useful for SMEs and Start-Ups - students get to work with real technologists on a live consultancy project to commercialise their innovations. With Olympics fever having gripped the UK during 2012, we’re excited to launch our 2 year International Sports Management MBA in January 2013. With world class experts and guest speakers will be drawn from our impressive range of industry contact and sporting alumni, it’s designed for those working in sports events management, international sports federations and governing bodies, sports sponsors, sports manufacturers, sports consultants, sports organisations and clubs, and even ex-athletes looking to move into management.

Tomorrow’s way of doing business

Are you ready for tomorrow’s challenges?

We decided to launch a 1 year Full-Time MBA as we realised that the business world is changing. It’s not enough to cover all the main management functions from a traditional ‘big business’ perspective. Businesses need creative problem solvers who can manage scarce resources in smarter ways, not just to drive efficiency, but for their organisation to stand out. That’s why one of the key highlights of the course includes a unique ‘Managing Sustainable Enterprise’ summer school.

If you’re considering an MBA for yourself or for nominating someone onto an MBA for your business, think about what sort of manager you want at the end of it. At Loughborough, we offer an accredited MBA from a top-ten business school that’s respected by employers, will transform your business and accelerate your career. Choose the Loughborough MBA – tomorrow’s way of doing business.

Stuart West is the MBA Programme Director at Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics. He has held senior positions at leading retail companies and continues to act as a principle consultant on strategy and organisational capability to many sports federations and organisations.


BUSINESS on a budget

Corporate events such as conferences and business meetings are a routine part of the job for many business owners, but as everybody strives to keep costs to the minimum we look at how it is possible to find the perfect venue on a budget, that still meets all of your corporate needs. Budgeting for your meeting or conference The choice of venue is only one of the costs associated with a meeting. Depending on the nature of the meeting and how many are attending, the venue may or may not be the largest cost. Other costs can include, catering, accommodation, transportation, events, entertainment, recreational activities, equipment hire or purchase, stationery, hand outs, promotional gifts, speaker, publicity materials and staff. All of which, needs to be taken into account. First of all you need to set the budget. To do this the team organising the meeting should identify the costs, obtain realistic estimates, agree on the importance of each cost, add a figure for indirect and unexpected costs (they always come up), and agree a maximum spend for each cost. Next, inform the meeting team of the cost constraints at the beginning of the planning phase. Closely monitor the actual expenses against the planned expenditure and review the differences. It may be necessary to revise your budget to prevent future overspending. Also, by having a clear idea of your exact budget and requirements you will be in a better position to negotiate lower costs with vendors. Low budget but still hi-tech These days technology is an integral part of every business meeting and conference,

54 --- ISSUE 53

so it is essential that the venue which you select has the capability to meet all of your technological requirements. But just because a venue offers a low budget option, this does not mean that they won’t be able to offer you hi-tech solutions to your conference needs. Most venues will be equipped with the latest technology, Wi-Fi and audio-visual facilities. So it is important to work out what technology is essential to your meeting or conference. No-frills option If what you need is a low-cost, no-frills meeting room make sure that you keep this at the forefront of your mind when looking at venues. There are some amazing meeting and conference centres throughout the Midlands, many offering a luxurious venue that includes accommodation, dining and entertainment. So as you search for a venue make sure you don’t get swayed from your directive. And if you are enticed to take a further look at this type of venue, make sure you keep your budget and requirements in mind and ask about their best-value offers. Be original and think outside of the box When looking for a venue to hold your business meeting or conference, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are restricted to conference centres only. Many buildings are multi-functional and will offer this service, even it is not their main purpose. For example… Many universities and colleges hire out rooms and facilities for business meetings and conferences. These places of learning have the benefit of already possessing the latest technology and internet access. They are able to offer function rooms of various sizes and lecture theatres which have the capacity to hold large numbers of people. By

choosing a university as the venue for your business meeting or event, you can also take advantage of their extensive parking and catering services. Cinemas can be an excitingly different location for a conference and can be surprisingly cost-effective. The advantages of using a cinema includes, access to big screens, comfy stadium seating and state-of-the-art projection equipment. And as most main towns and cities have at least one cinema, it is possible to find the perfect location for your conference. Many hotels are opening up their doors to accommodate companies wishing to hold business meetings or corporate events. They often offer state-of-the art-technology and facilities, but also have the advantage of letting delegates mix business with pleasure. And with the Midlands excellent transport links, distance need not be a barrier, so you are able to enjoy a venue that is easily accessible and convenient. Coffee shops, pubs and restaurants can often be used for a more informal business meeting and can offer an attractive alternative to holding your meeting in the office. They often provide access to free Wi-Fi, but don’t have the physical constraints which the office environment can bring. The act of getting out of the office can allow employees to escape their desks and computer screens, allowing them to communicate more freely. However, it is worth remembering that you will be sharing the venue with other customers and so won’t have control over noise and space. But why not speak to the manager and find out if they are willing to hire out their café, pub or restaurant during the times of the day when they are usually closed.

CONFERENCE & EVENTS Venues throughout the Midlands There is a great deal of fantastic venues available for hire, throughout the region, which can cater for all your corporate needs, while remaining budget friendly. Here are just a few…

The Stockport Masonic Guildhall has two ways of approaching costing to ensure great value while helping clients stay within their budget. Their fees include free parking, all equipment and technical assistance with no hidden costs.

Delegate rates start from £15 per head, a popular selection being £20.50 for unlimited tea/coffee and a hot lunch. They also offer a popular room hire only option, which allows clients who are unsure of their total attendance to secure a fully equipped room from £125 per day. Catering can then be added to this and tailored to keep within the clients’ budget. For more information, go to

The Birmingham Marriott Hotel is centrally located in the heart of the city and offers six meeting rooms, expert catering, audio-visual and communication services. This is one of the only Birmingham hotels to offer onsite car parking with direct access to the hotel. The Birmingham Marriott offers budget friendly conference rates with Day Delegate Rates from as low as £35 per person to include meeting room hire, internet connection, LCD Projector and Screen, Flip Chart and Double Marriott Rewards Points. There is also a 24 hour rate of £140 per person which includes all of the above plus dinner, overnight stay and breakfast. For more information, go to A Gold winner of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and a holder of the new Staffordshire SEQM, Colton House is a 5* conference venue which can adapt to your needs. With two meeting rooms seating up

to 40 people, free Wi-Fi and private dining, plus buffet facilities; this easily accessible venue provides comfort and practicality in an ideal setting.

The Stockport Masonic Guildhall

Accommodation can be arranged with ten en-suite rooms with breakfast included in the price, perfect for small conferences/meetings on a budget. For more information, visit and to book, call 01889 578 580, or email: The choice of venue for your meeting or conference can be the costly part of anyone’s budget so finding a high class venue without the high cost can be difficult; at Wharton Park you can find something to suit all budgets, tastes and requirements in a beautiful setting. You can incorporate golf and a stay in their new boutique accommodation at very competitive rates. Included in all of their day delegate rates is the use of our flip chart, pens, paper, separate room for breaks, free flowing tea and coffee, water and a dedicated conference coordinator to help you every step of the way at no extra cost.

The Birmingham Marriot Hotel

Colton House

For more information, go to Businesses across the region can impress customers and colleagues by hosting meetings in the county’s most iconic and innovative landmark building. The Hive, in the heart of Worcester City, has eight meeting rooms and a 50-seater studio, perfect for conferences or large presentations. The meeting rooms vary in size with the larger ones fully fitted with the latest AV equipment, which is available at no extra cost.

Wharton Park

On-site support is also thrown in to help ensure no technical gremlins get in the way. A range of journals, databases, newspapers and trade magazines are also available in The Hive’s Business Centre. For more information, go to

Wharton Park

ISSUE 53 --- 55


ENVIRONMENTAL This year, a report by the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) found that even during a recession over a third of the UK’s economic growth in 2011/12 is likely to have come from green business. Sustainability West Midlands discuss what sustainability means for your organisation and the benefits of going green.

Sustainable business In light of the current challenges facing the economy, it is perceived that interest in environmental issues is decreasing, with matters such as climate change and sustainable development sliding down the corporate agenda. The reality is much more positive as environmental and economic issues are often intertwined. Sustainable Business has arrived, and it is here to stay. Businesses that aspire to implement sustainability not only look to save costs, but gain an advantage over their competitors.

What exactly is sustainability?


for growth

From a business standpoint, sustainability is fundamentally linked to a company’s use of resources and the waste outputs it produces. This is often referred to as ‘environmental sustainability’ or ‘low carbon’. Looking after your workforce and supporting community projects is often called ‘corporate social responsibility’. Sustainability can also involve planning for the future to be become more resilient and developing the new products and services society will require. For example in the West Midlands, it is anticipated that winter rainfall will increase by about 5% by 2020, and extreme weather events are predicted to increase. Over the last five years storms and high winds have caused power cuts and road closures across the UK. Are your customers reliant on the timely delivery of products? How reliant are you on the delivery of materials from suppliers? It is not just about saving the environment, it’s about saving your business too.

Selling sustainability? Sustainability sells itself

Green and growth can go hand in hand. Policy change and green investment are creating opportunities for businesses right here in the Anisha Chandar, West Midlands. In the UK, the Government Sustainability West Midlands is committed to achieving an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020. To meet these targets, each unit of economic output in Britain will need to be produced using an average of one-tenth of the carbon dioxide emitted today. This requires a transformation in how energy is generated and used. Combined with factors such as the need to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and the rising costs of energy, the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy is driving major investment and market opportunities.


The benefits of sustainability… New businesses are emerging that respond to government investment and the threats facing our environment. As the recent CBI figures indicate, there is economic growth potential in sustainability. Green investment creates jobs and opportunities, helping the West Midlands to prosper.

56 --- ISSUE 53

Sustainability does not just create new businesses; it can also serve to help existing businesses. By implementing sustainability into your business model, you could see tangible benefits, saving costs, improving your brand and reputation.

Entrepreneurial thinking Case Study: Globehuggers Emergency Supplies – Stourbridge Globehuggers Emergency Supplies (ES) specialises in producing kits that help businesses and individuals plan for emergencies. Globehuggers ES started out as an ecocompany, championing technologies and recycled products in an effort to slow down climate change. After a while it became apparent that some of their products could be used in a practical way, to actually deal with the extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change. It was at that point Globehuggers Emergency Supplies was born. Globehuggers ES help businesses and organisations to ‘expect the best but plan for the worst’ as they attempt to deal with the impact of climate change. This entrepreneurial thinking led Globehuggers ES to win a prestigious BITC Climate Business Resilience Award in 2012. As Globehuggers ES supply these kits, the business is also well equipped to deal with most emergencies that might arise on their own premises. In 2009, Globehuggers were voted one of the ‘Top 5 Eco Businesses’ by HSBC Bank, Sky News and the Daily Express.

Cross sector working Case Study: Bromford Group’s Cross Street South – Wolverhampton Bromford Group is a leading provider of affordable housing in Central England. Cross Street South’s award-winning design emerged when Wolverhampton City Council asked a number of housing associations to submit plans for highly sustainable and innovative housing as part of a rolling regeneration project in Blakenhall. Bromford put together the successful bid with architects Cole Thompson Anders and Integer, a research network producing intelligent and green building projects. The land was derelict when given by the council and then developed in a partnership approach using £2.2m grant from the former Housing Corporation (now the Homes and Communities Agency) and £1.4m raised by Bromford. Future residents were actively involved in the design process and the building itself a complex of 30 eco-friendly homes where each uses half as much energy as a standard home- has transformed the area and lives of the people that live there. By designing the housing scheme with sustainability in mind large cost, energy and waste savings can be made for both the property developers and the residents.

ENVIRONMENTAL Next steps… Sustainability is no silver bullet. Businesses must get the basics right in running their operations and managing their staff to create the basic foundations to build a more sustainable business. If you are an organisation looking to implement sustainability into your business plan, it may be beneficial to start by considering current legislation and other legal requirements put in place by the Government. Look at how you can save energy, material, and waste costs. Think about how you could incorporate sustainability into risk management strategies in order to minimise the impact of climate change on your business. A little goes a long way, and the importance of sustainability in business is set to continue. A combination of factors such as rising energy costs, government targets and competition within the sector means that businesses neglecting sustainability risk and opportunity face getting left behind.

Sustainability West Midlands Green Leaders Event 2011

International accolade Case Study: JCB - Staffordshire JCB has long recognised its responsibility to keep its environmental impact as low as possible. In 2007 however, JCB decided to make energy management a strategic priority and approached the Carbon Trust. An initial survey at the JCB Compact Products Business Unit in Cheadle identified eighteen energy saving opportunities across the site.

Simon Slater, Executive Director of Sustainability West Midlands and George Marsh, former Chair of Sustainability West Midlands

The initial target was to reduce the UK-wide energy bill by £1 million a year but JCB surpassed this expectation in 2009. By encouraging staff to shut doors to retain heat, turn off machines, lights and computers to save power, the company has saved £80,000 at no cost to the business. Simon Appleby, Group Environment advisor at JCB, said: “Our first winter under the new regime was one of the coldest in years, and yet we saved £287,808 in heating bills. We’d certainly have got complaints if people hadn’t been warm enough, so it just shows you can make a huge difference without affecting comfort levels.”

Local commitment Case Study: Birmingham Hippodrome – Birmingham Birmingham Hippodrome, the most visited theatre in the UK has an on-going commitment to improving wastage, recycling and reducing its carbon footprint. The theatre has reduced its energy bill by £17,500 through energy improvement measures. Birmingham Hippodrome’s on-going commitment to the environment and economic savings include glass and plastic recycling, saving an average of 580kgs of CO2 per month. Modifications to the theatre’s utilities mean that they have reduced gas and electricity usage by 30% in the last five years.

Where Sustainability West Midlands fits in Sustainability West Midlands (SWM) is a not-for-profit company that works with its members who are leading individuals and organisations in the business, public and voluntary sector. We play our part by acting as a catalyst for change through our advice to leaders; developing practical solutions and sharing success through our communications. We are also part of a national network of similar organisations called Climate UK. Our website is designed to be utilised as a resource and space to showcase best practice from within the region and help organisations by signposting. For example SWM recently worked with our members and the Environment Agency to

produce a database of environmental business support. This lists free and subsidised sources of business support provision to help businesses improve their environmental performance and resource efficiency in your area. Anyone can get involved by subscribing to our monthly newsletter or providing us with a good practice example that you would like us to feature. If you are a well-established and growing business and could contribute to cross sector work, you may be interested in becoming one of our members and hosting a good practice event. Have a look at our website and get involved. For more information about Sustainability West Midlands, go to or email or tweet @SWMtweet

ISSUE 53 --- 57


An iconic space with an iconic centrepiece

Suitable space for between 10 to 800 delegates

If you are searching for a unique corporate events venue with a definite wow factor, then look no further than our Concorde Conference Centre. The Concorde Conference Centre at Runway Visitor Park is a unique facility for corporate events, product launches, gala dinners, team building events, exhibitions or meetings, built around one of the world’s most famous icons.

AT A GLANCE • The main hall is 1650sq metres • Two further smaller conference suites/ break out rooms • There are 2,200 hotel beds in 3-mile radius • Free car parking for delegates • Good motorway links • Fantastic location for international business delegates

Hold your event under the world’s flagship Concorde in the new year and

SAVE 25% on your booking Receive 25% off room hire in January and February 2013 at the Concorde Conference Centre*

For more information visit or call 0161 489 8299 to book *Terms & conditions apply.

High standards and attention to detail

A change is better than the rest. The All New Auris.

Built in Britain. Made for business. Auris Active 1.4 D-4D from just £169 + VAT per month* (Business users only) Initial rental

£1,014 + VAT

Followed by 35 monthly rentals

£169 + VAT

BIK per month 20% / 40%

£34 / £68

- 99g/km CO2 - Company Car Tax from 13% – £34 a month - 100% capital write down in year 1^ - 74 mpg - Zero road tax - London Congestion Charge Exempt

For more information or to arrange a test drive contact us today. Pinkstones Toyota Stanley Matthews Way (Opposite Britannia Stadium) , Stoke on Trent Tel: 01782 608581

Model shown is Auris Active 1.4 D-4D 5 door £15,845 including VAT and on the road charges. Price correct at time of going to press. ^Auris Icon Hybrid and 1.4 D-4D 99g/km. *Contract Hire offer available to business users only and excludes metallic paint on model shown when ordered, registered and financed through Toyota Financial Services, Great Burgh, Burgh Heath, Epsom, Surrey KT18 5UZ on a 3 year non-maintained Toyota Contract Hire agreement between 1 December 2012 and 31 March 2013 at participating Centres. Based on 10,000 miles per annum, excess mileage charges apply. Other finance offers are available but cannot be used in conjunction with this offer. Terms and conditions apply. Indemnities may be required. Finance subject to status to over 18’s only. Subject to availability. 5 year/100,000 mile manufacturer warranty subject to terms and conditions. The standard Toyota service schedule for the full 5 year period. For more information on the terms and conditions please contact Toyota (GB) PLC on 0844 701 6200.

Auris Active 1.4 D-4D 5 door. Official Fuel Consumption Figures in mpg (l/100km): Urban 64.2 (4.4), Extra Urban 83.1 (3.4), Combined 74.3 (3.8). CO2 Emissions 99g/km.

Midlands in Business 53  
Midlands in Business 53  

January - February edition